Diocese Settles with Six Victims
Total Payout Will Be $625,000

By Dave Bakke
Springfield State Journal-Register [Springfield IL]
January 20, 2007

The Springfield Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay $625,000 to six victims of sexual abuse by the late Rev. Alvin Campbell in the 1970s and early '80s.

Campbell was a priest at St. Maurice Church in Morrisonville when, in 1985, he pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of abusing at least seven teenage boys. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and served almost seven years before being released in 1992. He moved out of Illinois after his release, was removed from the ministry and died in 2002.

"Those who have been harmed by this evil deserve our help," Bishop George Lucas told Catholic Times, the diocesan newspaper. "I pray that with God's grace this settlement will help promote healing for those who have been abused and their families."

Springfield attorney Fred Nessler, whose office represented the six victims, said this latest settlement brings to approximately $10 million the amount of damages his office has collected for clients in Illinois from priest sex abuse cases.

"I think this bishop (Lucas) should be commended for the way he has handled these victims," Nessler said Friday. "I handle these cases all over the country, while most of my cases are in Illinois, and have worked with a lot of dioceses. This particular bishop has really complied with the tone of the bishops' conference and their directives. I think his approach is the right one."

Diocesan spokeswoman Kathie Sass said the $625,000 settlement was not taken from parish Mass collections or from donations to the Annual Catholic Services Appeal that funds diocesan offices and programs. Instead, she said, it came from interest on investments and from other sources.

The settlement was paid in late December and was made public this week.

Sass asked that anyone with information on sexual abuse of minors by a member of the clergy contact law enforcement authorities or diocesan victim assistance coordinator Pat Kornfeld at 321-1155.

Dave Bakke can be reached at 788-1541 or


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