Phone Tapes Sought in Priest Sex-Abuse Suit

By Mike Cetera
Courier News [Geneva IL]
November 24, 2004

GENEVA Tapes of telephone calls that a Geneva teenager made at the request of police to her molester, former priest Mark Campobello, are being sought by the victim's attorney as part of a civil lawsuit.

A Kane County judge could rule next month whether the state's attorney's office must turn over the tapes to attorney Keith Aeschliman, who represents the woman in a lawsuit filed earlier this year against Campobello, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford and Bishop Thomas Doran.

Judge F. Keith Brown on Tuesday found Campobello in default on the case because he did not respond to the complaint. Campobello, 39, earlier was held in default on a second civil lawsuit, filed on behalf of a former Aurora Central Catholic High School student.

A future hearing could be scheduled to prove damages and determine any compensation owed to the women.

Prosecutors are holding several tapes made by Geneva police as part of the investigation leading up to Campobello's arrest in December 2002. Aeschliman said he believes the tapes contain conversations between his client and Campobello during which she tried to get him to admit he abused her.

The Geneva girl was 15 at the time of the abuse, which occurred during several months in 1999.

Campobello, who once served in parishes in Aurora and Geneva and worked at Aurora Central Catholic High School, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty in May to sexually abusing two teenagers.

Six tapes were made during the criminal investigation, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Jody Gleason said. She would not disclose their contents.

Prosecutors are not expected to fight a court order demanding release of the tapes, but Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Lulves said the office wants to ensure that guidelines are followed before handing over the tapes.

Lulves said Illinois law requires the state's attorney's office to give notice to anyone recorded during an investigation prior to giving tapes to the court.

The diocese and Doran are accused of negligence, in charges suggesting that both failed to investigate Campobello's suitability to interact with youngsters and never instructed him on appropriate boundaries with adolescents.

The diocese has denied the accusations.


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