A former priest has been released from an Illinois prison after having plead guilty to the criminal sexual abuse of two minors under the age of 16 in 2004. Mark Campobello, who was ordained in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford in 1991, is being released for the third time since 2006. He was twice returned to custody for parole violations. The only condition placed upon his present release is that he register as an Illinois Sex Offender.
The sexual abuse for which Campobello served time reportedly occurred between 1999 and 2001. Reports indicate that Campobello was transferred numerous times while he was a priest. Campobello spent time at the Holy Family Parish in Rockford, IL, St. Peter Parish in Geneva, IL, the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford, IL, Holy Angel’s Parish in Aurora, IL, St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake, IL, and St. James Parish in Belvidere, IL. Campobello was also the assistant principal and spiritual director of Aurora Central Catholic High School in Aurora, IL. Court documents also indicate that Campobello underwent a course of treatment at St. Luke Hospital in Maryland which is a mental health facility for Catholic ministers. This treatment was reportedly initiated at the direction of the diocese. Campobello was eventually defrocked in 2005.
The high number of transfers and/or reassignments of Campobello coupled with his stint in the Maryland mental health facility indicate that diocese officials may have been aware of at least some allegations against Campobello. To date, the diocese has refused to release Campobello’s personnel records.
The Childhood Sexual Abuse Act allows victims of sexual abuse in Illinois to come forward and bring civil cases many years after an abuse was committed. This expanded statute of limitations will oftentimes allow otherwise unreported abuses to be prosecuted. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse in Illinois, you should contact an attorney to explore your rights. Chicago victims’ rights attorney Joseph G. Klest helped author the aforementioned statute. To speak with attorney Klest, please click here.