Colo. Priest Removed over Alleged Sex Misconduct

By Samantha Abernethy
April 11, 2010

A Catholic priest in Centennial has been removed after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor in the 1970s, the Archdiocese of Denver announced Sunday.

Father Mel Thompson of St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial was relieved of priestly faculties after an April 7 complaint alleging the past sexual misconduct, the archdiocese said in a statement.

The archdiocese has alerted law enforcement, said Archbishop Charles Chaput. He did elaborate on the misconduct.

"It is important to note that Father Thompson maintains his innocence," Chaput said.

Thompson has served at seven Denver-area Catholic churches since 1969. A letter from Chaput was read at masses at all seven parishes on Sunday and Saturday night.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese, Jeanette DeMelo, said Sunday the abuse complaint came from an adult male about events in the early 1970s.

The church would not be more specific about when the alleged misconduct occurred, and a timeline provided by the church does not say where Thompson served from 1970 to 1973. After that, Thompson was assigned to Good Shepherd Parish in Denver, formerly named St. John the Evangelist.

The church asked anyone with concerns about Thompson's conduct to contact the archdiocese's Child and Youth Protection Office.

DeMelo said Thompson was not the main pastor of St. Thomas More and that other priests will fill in for him while an investigation continues.

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