Priest Sentenced for Molestation Is Defrocked

By Zachary R. Mider
Providence Journal-Bulletin
March 21, 2005

A Roman Catholic priest who admitted raping a boy while serving at St. Joseph Church in West Warwick three decades ago has been defrocked.

James D. Campbell, 59, who was an assistant pastor of the parish from 1975 to 1978, entered a guilty plea last Dec. 22 and is serving a three-month sentence in the Worcester County, Mass. House of Corrections.

Church officials in Rome removed Campbell from the priesthood "about a month ago," said the Rev. Raymond Diesbourg, a member of the governing council of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, a religious order whose provincial offices are in Aurora, Ill. Campbell was a member of that order.

Campbell was indicted by a Worcester County grand jury in September 2003, accused of molesting the 16-year-old St. Joseph's parishioner in the summer of 1975.

Campbell was accused of taking the boy to a restaurant in Uxbridge, Mass. and plying him with alcohol before molesting him, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

A month after his indictment, Campbell was charged a second time. Those charges related to a second victim, a 14-year-old parishioner, the Telegram & Gazette reported.

Both victims' families attended the church, the district attorney's office said.

Campbell pleaded guilty to rape, unnnatural and lascivious acts, two counts of assault and battery and two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor, the Worcester County district attorney's office said.

On Jan. 10, a Superior Court judge imposed a three-month sentence the Telegram & Gazette reported.

Campbell was removed from active ministry when the accusations came to light, in 2002, and was living at a home for elderly and infirm in Center Valley, Pa., when the indictment was handed up.

No statute of limitations applied in the case because Campbell was not living in Massachusetts in the intervening years, according to a statement on the district attorney's Web site.


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