Former Priest's Hearing Delayed

By Tona Kunz
Chicago Daily Herald [Illinois]
November 10, 2004

Convicted pedophile Mark Campobello got a stay from being found in default on the second of two lawsuits against him for abusing an Aurora teen and Geneva teen.

Not a problem, said the girls' attorney, that just provides more time to build a case against him from sexual abuse in 1999 and 2000 when he worked at St. Peters Church in Geneva and Aurora Central Catholic High School.

Attorney Keith Aeschliman, of Shorewood, agreed to delay the hearing on finding Campobello in default because the Rockford Catholic Diocese, which oversees the area, had mistakenly forgot to inform Campobello of the court date. Diocese attorneys did not attend Tuesday's court hearing in Kane County.

Campobello now is expected to be found in default next Thursday for not answering a court summons or hiring an attorney for the case involving a then 15-year-old girl enrolled at St. Peters Church in Geneva. Campobello will have 30 days to respond or lose the case and face a financial judgment against him.

Campobello already lost the case involving a then 15-year-old girl from Aurora Central Catholic High School where he taught Latin there and was the spiritual leader.

In the meantime, Aeschliman has filed paper work with the courts demanding a slew of records for the Diocese and Bishop Thomas Doran, co-defendants in the lawsuits.

If Aeschliman gets what he wants, he said it would give a clear picture of how rampant accusations of abuse were, who knew about them and when.

Aeschliman demanded from the Diocese Campobello's application to become a priest, all of his performance reviews and information on when the diocese changed his duties and why. Aeschliman is searching for any red flags that should have told Diocese officials Campobello was a danger. He admitted in May to sexually abusing the Aurora and Geneva teens. He is serving eight years in prison.

Aeschliman also demanded all information regarding claims of sexual misconduct against Campobello with adults or juveniles, including any records that may have been destroyed prior to the lawsuits. Aeschliman said those records will dispel the Geneva parish's claims that it had no suspicions of impropriety by Campobello.

Aeschliman also wants the same information for every priest in the Diocese. Aeschliman claims at least 33 priests in the Diocese have been accused of sexual impropriety between 1960 and Oct. 30, 2004.

The Diocese will have a chance to refute the need before a judge of the information requested.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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