Archbishop Clears Priest in 30-year-old Abuse Complaint

By Alan Gathright
Denver Channel
January 2, 2011

[Read Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's statement]

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has cleared a Centennial priest suspended in April after Father Mel Thompson was accused of sexually abusing a juvenile 30 years ago.

In a Sunday statement, Chaput said a thorough eight-month investigation by the Archdiocesan Conduct Response Team found "the allegation against Father Thompson is not supported by the evidence."

The archbishop added that the investigation team had "interviewed the parties involved and spoke with others who might have helpful information."

The archdiocese also reported the allegations to the Denver Police Department. Police, however, said no criminal investigation was launched because the case fell outside the statute of limitations.

Given the Conduct Response Team's recommendations, Chaput said: "I have restored Father Thompson to priestly service, effective immediately."

The 75-year-old Thompson, however, requested he be allowed to retire, Chaput said.

"Having reflected on his experience of the last seven months and his current health issues, I have granted that request," Chaput said.

"I want to assure the people of the archdiocese that the safety of our children and families is -- and will remain -- a priority for our church," the archbishop said.

Thompson had most recently served at St. Thomas More church in Centennial for about nine years. He served at numerous other churches metro Denver churches, including Our Lady of Fatima, St. Vincent De Paul, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Good Shepherd (formerly St. John the Evangelist), St. Rose of Lima and Christ the King.


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