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  Priest Is Arraigned on 2 Sex Charges
Boy in Detroit Parish Says He Was Fondled

By Suzette Hackney
Detroit Free Press
August 7, 2004

A Catholic priest from Mexico was arraigned Friday on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly fondling a 7-year-old Detroit boy.

The Rev. Luis Javier de Alba Campos, 49, formerly a visiting priest at St. Gabriel Church in southwest Detroit, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He was arraigned via video monitor at 36th District Court. According to the police report contained within the court file, de Alba Campos was visiting the boy's house in southwest Detroit on June 2 when he was invited to spend the night.

The boy, who joined de Alba Campos in a bedroom, told police that the priest came to bed wearing only underwear. The boy said he was molested during the night.

The Free Press typically does not name alleged sexual abuse victims.

De Alba Campos stood Friday with his hands behind his back listening to an English-to-Spanish translator. He was released on a $40,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered to have no contact with minors or his parishioners. He said he understood the conditions but appeared to miss much of what he was told by 36th District Magistrate Robert Costello.

"I probably shouldn't say this, but I'm Catholic, too, father, and this is very difficult for me," Costello said. "I am proud of being a Catholic, always have been and always will be, I believe. I believe the church . . . has been composed of frail individuals like me who need God's help and God's mercy."

De Alba Campos responded in Spanish: "I can't hear the translation."

Ned McGrath, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said there was no indication of sexual misconduct in de Alba Campos' past before he came to Michigan.

"We're saddened by it all," McGrath said. "We've cooperated with authorities up to this point, and we expect that father will do the same."

De Alba Campos was removed from public ministry in mid-June.

A preliminary examination is scheduled for Sept. 9.

 
 

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