Detective Did Not Relay Priest-abuse Report, Denver Cops Say

By Tom Mcghee
The Denver Post
April 13, 2010

Denver police are reexamining how some complaints are handled after a detective did not forward to supervisors a report from the Denver Archdiocese about alleged sex abuse by a priest.

Last Thursday, a representative of the Archdiocese told Denver police that a one-time parishioner of Rev. Melvin Thompson, 74, had accused the priest of sexually abusing him more than 35 years ago in an undisclosed Colorado parish.

Current Colorado law has no statute of limitations in criminal cases involving sex assault on a child.

However, in the early 1970s, when Thompson is accused of committing the abuse, victims had only three years to report the crime.

Since the alleged abuse occurred when the three year statute of limitations was in effect the detective knew that Denver police wouldn't investigate, police spokesman Lt. Matt Murray said. Therefore, he "didn't relay the information to a supervisor."

The detective did just what he should have, defense lawyer Rick Kornfeld said. "If the detective determines that the case, as a matter of law, cannot be prosecuted then he is doing his job rather than passing it off to the DA."

Still, Murray said, if similar cases arise in the future detectives will record the complaint.

"It is not so much that (the detective) did something wrong. It just exposed something that we should be doing better," Murray said. "We have no obligation under the law when it is outside the statute of limitation. We saw something in this that we can do better and we are."

If similar cases arise in the future, detectives will record the complaint, Murray said.

Archbishop Charles Chaput removed Thompson from his ministry at St. Thomas More Catholic Church on Thursday, the day after the accusation surfaced.

Tom McGhee: 303-954-1671 or


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