Priest Sex Abuse Settlement

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

The Rockford Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay $2.2 million to two women who were sexually abused by a former priest.
The women were young teenagers when the man who was their priest and teacher abused them in 1999 and 2000 in Kane County.
Father Mark Campobello, formerly of the Rockford Diocese, pled guilty to criminal sexual conduct and was convicted in 2004.
One of the victims says she first told leaders in the Rockford Diocese about the abuse back in September 2002, when Campobello was serving at Saint James Parish in Belvidere. However, he continued in active ministry until his arrest in December 2002.
The delay in removing Campobello from his ministry caused the women to sue the Rockford Diocese in 2004, leading to today's settlement of $1,150,000 for one woman and $1,050,000 for the other. The Rockford Diocese paid $250,000 from its own funds. Insurance covered the rest.
The Rockford Diocese said today in a statement, "Although the settlement amounts were a heavy burden for the diocese, the diocese owed resorative justice to the two women for their injuries." They added that they continue to work to prevent abuse.
Activists from the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say it's important to come forward.
"We praise these two girls for having the courage to come forward. The wisdom to get legal help, and the persistence to endure the long legal struggle in order to get some justice and to warn people about Father Campobello," says David Clohessy, SNAP's Executive Director.
Right now, Campobello is serving an 8 year sentence for criminal conduct, but he becomes eligible for parole next May.
In 2004, the diocese released a report stating there were 32 allegations of sexual abuse againsts priests in the Rockford Diocese between 1950 and 2002. But the report added that only three of those allegations were substantiated.


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