Elderly Priest Accused of Past Sex Abuse Will Stay in Denver

By Eric Gorski
Denver Post
March 4, 2004

An elderly Roman Catholic priest implicated in more than a dozen child sex-abuse cases will remain in a north Denver retirement home indefinitely, a spokesman for his religious order said.

In December, a victim of the Rev. John 'Jack' Campbell leafletted the neighborhood around the Xavier Jesuit Residence Center north of Regis University.

Campbell's community, the Jesuits of the Missouri Province, promised to weigh neighborhood concerns in deciding what to do with the 83-year-old cleric. And there has been no known protest from neighbors.

'We continue to believe that people are being served well by his staying there,' said the Rev. Phil Steele, executive assistant to the provincial at the Jesuits' regional office in St. Louis. 'In other words, that kids are not in danger, and we are able to supervise him there better than in other places.'

Steele said Campbell is frail and is not allowed to leave the home by himself; he rarely leaves it at all.

'Ideally, we'd like to keep him there until he is too sick to live in that environment,' Steele said.

He said the Jesuits have reviewed Campbell's status monthly with a review board composed mostly of lay people.

A Virginia man, Kevin O'Connor, came to Denver in December to expose Campbell. O'Connor is one of 13 people who have won settlements from the Jesuits for allegations against Campbell in the St. Louis area.

The Jesuits moved Campbell to Denver in 1991, and no allegations have surfaced from his time here. He has been stripped of his ability to minister publicly.

Denver City Councilman Rick Garcia, who represents the Regis neighborhood, said Wednesday his office has not received any calls about Campbell. Adams County Commissioner Elaine Valente, whose district includes the retirement home and stretches south to the Denver city limits, said she hasn't heard from anyone, either.


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