|Removed Colo. Priest Had Another Misconduct Allegation
By Arthur Kane
May 8, 2010
A Denver area priest accused of sexually assaulting a minor was also accused in another incident of inappropriate sexual behavior, a CALL7 investigation found.
Father Mel Thompson was posted at several parishes in Colorado, including Our Lady of Fatima in Lakewood, but he was relieved from active ministry in April after a complaint of sexual misconduct with a minor, archdioceses officials said.
CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia uncovered that Thompson was pastor the early 1990s when he was accused of making an inappropriate sexual advance to a college
student in the rectory at Fatima.
"I was in college, I was 20 years old, I had gone through a part of my life when I thought I wanted to be a priest," the man told Ferrugia in an exclusive interview.
Thompson invited the man to dinner, but the man said dinner wasn't on Thompson's mind.
"Mel actually cooked and we sat outside and there was a patio in the back of the rectory at Fatima," he said. "Mel comes out completely naked. He doesn't have the dinner but is completely naked and sits down. And for me, I completely freaked out.
"He talked about, you probably get this bleeped out on TV, but he talked about how he would masturbate in the shower, thinking about all types of erotic things ... He would come back from Mass and he would do it…," the man said.
"He told you this?" Ferrugia asked.
"Yeah, he told me this as I am walking out the door," the man said.
The man was concerned because there were children in the parish, including the man's cousins.
"The first thing that came to my mind was this man is responsible for a school of young, impressionable children," he said. "It sent chills down my spine. It was crazy."
He said he reported the incident and church sources confirm that the archdioceses confronted Thompson. Church sources confirm Thompson was moved to St. Louis for treatment of alcohol abuse and other personal problems. Sources say Thompson was closely monitored for several years and was known to have had no further incidents.
Neither the young man nor the archdiocese could prove that any crime had been committed.
"How do you prove it?" said the man. "There are just the two of you there. You are not a minor. He is obviously a well respected priest. So it's you against the church."
The man said the decision to send Thompson to treatment was an appropriate response by the archdiocese, but he was surprised that Thompson soon returned to Fatima.
"You've got to be kidding me," he said. "Not only is it bad enough that you sent him away, but you bring him back to the very same church where it happened. Put him on administrative duties. Put him on something where he is not going to be around children."
After Thompson returned, the man stopped attending Fatima.
"I saw him once at the church and that's the last time I set foot in Fatima until a family funeral and he was no longer there at the time," he said.
The Denver Archdioceses declined comment on the man's complaint but provided a statement.Read the full statement Read the full statement here.
Despite numerous attempts, Thompson could not be reached for comment.
However, according to the initial Archdiocese press release, Father Mel Thompson said he is innocent of the allegation of abusing a minor. He has not been charged with any crime related to the complaint in the early 1990s, and has had no known issues after that complaint.
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