Ex-Priest Gets Jail Time for Molesting Teens

By Gary V. Murray
Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]
January 12, 2005

WORCESTER— A former priest was sentenced to jail yesterday after pleading guilty last month to charges of rape, assault and battery, furnishing alcohol to a minor and committing an unnatural and lascivious act.

James D. Campbell, 59, a former Catholic priest in West Warwick, R.I., was sentenced to 90 days in the House of Correction with 10 years of probation to follow after admitting Dec. 22 in Worcester Superior Court that he molested two male teenagers in the 1970s in Uxbridge. Mr. Campbell was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in West Warwick at the time of the assaults, which occurred from 1975 to 1978.

The sentence imposed yesterday by Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. was recommended by Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers and Mr. Campbell’s lawyer, James McCormick.

As conditions of probation, Mr. Campbell was ordered to register as a sex offender, provide a DNA sample to law enforcement authorities and undergo drug, alcohol, sex offender and psychological evaluations and any related treatment recommended by the Probation Department. Mr. Campbell was further ordered to have no contact with the victims and no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16.

Mr. Campbell, last known to be living with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty last month to single counts of rape and committing an unnatural and lascivious act, and two counts each of assault and battery and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Judge Agnes postponed sentencing until yesterday.

Prosecutors said Mr. Campbell molested the victims after taking them to a restaurant and plying them with alcohol.

Judge Agnes made reference yesterday to what he described as the "extraordinary" impact statement made by one of the victims at the time of Mr. Campbell’s plea and said the man’s agreement with the proposed sentence weighed heavily in his sentencing deliberations.

Judge Agnes cautioned Mr. Campbell that he could be sentenced to up to life imprisonment if he were to violate the terms of his probation after his release from custody.


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