Priest Is Indicted in Uxbridge Case

By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette
September 13, 2003

WORCESTER - The Rev. James D. Campbell, 58, was indicted yesterday by a Worcester County grand jury in connection with a 1975 incident in Uxbridge and charged with unnatural rape, assault and battery and providing alcoholic beverages to a minor.

Rev. Campbell was last known to be living with Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Center Valley, Pa., and is believed to be living at 330 Station Ave., Center Valley, District Attorney John J. Conte said. Rev. Campbell will be arraigned at a later date in Worcester Superior Court, Mr. Conte said.

The three indictments relate to an incident that allegedly involved a male victim who was 16 at the time. The victim was not named.

Rev. Campbell was an assistant pastor at St. Joseph's Church, West Warwick, R.I., at the time of the incident, Mr. Conte said. A spokeswoman for the Providence Diocese said yesterday it had not been informed of the indictment and could not comment.

State police detectives attached to the district attorney's office have been investigating the allegations involving Rev. Campbell for a year, Mr. Conte said. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers of the child abuse unit is prosecuting the case.

This is the seventh clergyman to face criminal charges in Central Massachusetts this year. All but one live out of state.

Mr. Conte is seeking the extradition of the Rev. Paul Desilets from Canada. He faces 18 grand jury indictments alleging that he sexually abused several boys at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Bellingham. The extradition issue is still before the courts in Canada. Rev. Desilets left Massachusetts for Canada several years ago.

The Rev. David L. Blizard, who served at several parishes in the Worcester diocese until leaving in 1988, will be back in Brockton Superior Court on Oct. 2 for a pretrial hearing on a sexual misconduct allegation that occurred with an underage male several years ago in Wareham. He is now living in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Mr. Conte turned that case over to the Plymouth County district attorney because the incident is alleged to have occurred in that jurisdiction.

The Rev. John J. Szantyr of Waterbury, Conn., is due back in Worcester Superior Court on Oct. 14 for pretrial conference in connection with three charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. The district attorney's office alleges that he sexually molested a Worcester boy in the 1980s, when he was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa parish.

Brother Louis Laperle, former principal of Notre Dame High School, Fitchburg, faces three charges of assault and battery alleging that he sexually abused a student at the high school from January to June 1968. The man, now age 51 and living in Lunenburg, according to state police reports, ended the alleged abuse by going home and never returning to the school.

Brother Laperle, who now lives in Rhode Island, is due back in court for arraignment Sept. 23. Mr. Conte said they had to limit the charges to misdemeanor assault and battery because the charges of indecent assault and battery did not exist at the time of the alleged incidents.

The Rev. Andrew J. Bierkan, 54, former minister at the First Congregational Church, Sutton, and now living in Ohio, has been arraigned on one charge of unnatural rape of a child and one charge of posing a minor in a state of nudity. Pretrial conference is set for Oct. 9 in Worcester Superior Court.

The Rev. Robert E. Kelley, who recently pleaded guilty to unnatural rape of two girls when he was associate pastor at St. Cecilia's Church, Leominster, is to be sentenced in Worcester Superior Court on Oct. 1.


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