Former Priest Pleads Guilty to Teen Rape

By Milton J. Valencia
Telegram & Gazette
December 23, 2004

WORCESTER— The man shook his head in bewilderment as he took the stand in Superior Court yesterday, confronting his former priest, who minutes earlier had pleaded guilty to molesting him as a teenager.

"Where do you begin � to describe the certain pain people like this do to little children?" said the man, who is listed in court records only by his initials, J.H., in an effort to conceal his identity.

"We took a pedophile off the street today, so he can never do this again."

James D. Campbell, a former Catholic priest in Warwick, R.I., pleaded guilty to rape, admitting he took J.H. and another teenager to a restaurant in Uxbridge nearly 30 years ago and molested them on different occasions.

Mr. Campbell, who was last known to be living with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Pennsylvania, will be sentenced Jan. 10 on charges of rape, two counts of assault and battery, two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor, and unnatural and lascivious acts.

The assistant district attorney and Mr. Campbell's lawyer recommended a 90-day jail term followed by 10 years of probation. Superior Court Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. will consider the recommendation Jan. 10.

J.H. said in a victim impact statement yesterday that he is a "compassionate" man and so he agreed with the recommended sentence. Still, he lashed out at his former priest, who was an assistant pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Rhode Island, saying he showed no compassion at all while pleading guilty.

"This guy just doesn't get it," J.H. said, urging Judge Agnes to keep in mind the "scar" the former priest left.

"I know you understand, and I know the court understands, but he just doesn't get it. I did what I had to do and I feel justice has been served," he said.

Mr. Campbell pleaded guilty to taking two teenagers to a restaurant in Uxbridge in 1975 and 1978, plying them with alcohol and molesting them. J.H., who was 16 in 1975, told police he was molested by the former priest, who was 32 at the time, after they had a meal. They returned to the priest's car and the priest began touching him and putting his hand under his clothing, he told police.

A second victim, who was 14 at the time, told police Mr. Campbell bought her a meal and drinks and began touching her. She began to complain and the priest grew apologetic and did not rape her, according to statements made in court yesterday.


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