Priest with Ties to Springs Cleared of Sex Abuse

January 3, 2011

[with video]

A Denver-area priest who once worked in Colorado Springs has been cleared of child molestation charges by the Denver Archdiocese. In April, Father Mel Thompson was accused of sexually assaulting a boy in the 1970s.

In a statement Sunday, the Archbishop of Denver said that a church panel had investigated and conducted interviews with people involved and "unanimously concluded that the allegation against Father Thompson is not supported by the evidence they reviewed." Police were not involved in the investigation because the statute of limitations had expired.

Thompson had been working as an assistant pastor at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Centennial, but had worked at the Divine Redeemer Church in Colorado Springs as well as St. Mary's High School in the early 1970s.

"Ultimately, I'm relieved because to hear he was cleared indicated there was no substantive information that would have resulted in further investigation," said Dave Camous, deacon at St. Mary's High School.

Camous alerted all students, faculty and alumni when the charges against Thompson came out in April. A statement was also read at Divine Redeemer. Everyone was encouraged to come forward with concerns and information.

"We had no responses at all, fortunately," said Camous.

He said on Monday, another letter will be sent informing everyone that Thompson has been cleared.

"I appreciate the work the Archdiocese has done in Denver, taking these allegations seriously, notifying us when the allegations were made," Camous said. "Because it did affect our school community."

When the charges came out, Thompson was suspended from St. Thomas More. He's now been restored to the priesthood, but has chosen to retire.


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