Colorado Priest Faces Sex Abuse Allegations

April 12, 2010

A priest at one of Colorado's largest catholic churches is facing allegations of abuse.

Father Mel Thompson is accused of sexual misconduct with a boy in the 1970s.

The complaint was made last Wednesday. Now he has been taken out of the ministry and awaits his future.

Parishioners of Saint Thomas More Catholic Church were told about the allegations during masses over the weekend.

Some churchgoers were shocked.

"Father Mel is loved by many people here and I think we're all praying that he's found innocent," said Matt Dalton.

A group called the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, says it's not uncommon for victims to report abuse decades later.

Jeb Barrett, the director of the organization says that's because of the shame and disbelief involved.

"(We) were taught to believe that priests, bishops and nuns were safe to be around," said Barrett. "But the truth is they have sexual lives, but they hide it and they do not admit to it."

The Archbishop says the accusations have been reported to police. But, police say they may not pursue an investigation.

The Denver Archdiocese is asking anyone with concerns about Father Thompson to contact the church's child and youth protection office.

They're also offering counseling.

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