July 01, 2005

Judge to review ex-Belvidere priest's files

Rockford Register Star

By GERI NIKOLAI, Rockford Register Star

GENEVA -- The Rockford Catholic Diocese will give a Kane County judge personnel files of priest Mark Campobello and others who have been accused of inappropriate behavior with minors.

Judge F. Keith Brown ordered the records in a hearing Thursday morning and said he will examine them in secret. He then will decide what, if any, parts of them can be turned over to plaintiffs suing Campobello and the diocese.

Campobello, who last served at St. James Church in Belvidere, pleaded guilty in May 2004 to sexually abusing two girls when he served a parish and Catholic high school in Geneva and Aurora. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The victims, now young women, are represented by attorney Keith Aeschliman of Shorewood, who had asked to see personnel records of Campobello and every diocesan priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor or adult from 1960 to 2004. The judge modified that to records of every priest accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor during the years Campobello served the diocese, from 1991 to 2001. Brown said he doesn't want entire files, just material related to allegations.

Aeschliman at first objected to having lawyers for the diocese supply the records to Brown. That allows them to make decisions the judge should make, Aeschliman said.

Posted by kshaw at July 1, 2005 07:14 AM