Diocese Continues Fight to Shield Priest Records

Rockford Register Star [St. Charles IL]
July 1, 2004

The Catholic Diocese of Rockford continued Wednesday to fight a court order to let a judge review personnel records on Mark Campobello, a priest who is in prison for sexual abuse of teenage girls.

A hearing on the diocesan stand will be held July 27 in Kane County court.

During pretrial hearings on Campobello, the Kane County state's attorney's office asked for the documents. The diocese refused, asking to be held in contempt so it could appeal.

The Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court agreed with Kane County and said Judge Timothy Sheldon should review the records in private and decide which should be turned over to prosecutors.

The diocese at first objected on the grounds of First Amendment and church law. Now it says that because the Campobello case is resolved, there is no need for anyone to see the records.

Campobello pleaded guilty to two charges in a plea bargain and was sentenced to prison for eight years. He started his sentence in late May.

Campobello, who abused the girls when he was serving in Aurora and Geneva, also has served at Rockford and Belvidere parishes. He was at St. James in Belvidere when he was arrested in December 2002.

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