Church Clears Priest Of 1970s Sex Assault

DENVER (CBS4/AP) – A Catholic priest in suburban Denver who was suspended last year following an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor has been cleared of wrongdoing by the church.

Father Mel Thompson of St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial was suspended in April of 2010 after the Archdiocese of Denver received a tip from an adult male that Thompson sexually assaulted him in the early 1970s.

The investigation was not criminal because the statute of limitations in the 1970s required victims to report an alleged act within three years.

The Archdiocese has completed its investigation and cleared Thompson of the allegation.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are outraged.

“It’s just more of the same. This is what the church has been doing for 1,700 years — clearing themselves, investigating themselves and then clearing themselves of culpability,” Jed Barrett with Denver SNAP said.

The church says Thompson will retire, not return to active ministry.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • T. Dillon

    Somebody please teach Jennifer Brice the correct pronunciation of the word archdiocese. You DO pronounce the final “S” sound.

  • DenverVet

    Thanks, that’s one of my biggest pet peaves, news anchors that don’t pronounce words correctly or don’t use correct English. As for the Priest I really hope he did nothing wrong.

  • penguirl

    The church investigating a father is like the police investigating an officer or the house investigating a representative. The fact that he has been cleared by the church is essentially meaningless, especially considering that ‘coincidentally’ he is now retiring.

  • Martin

    That’s like the fox guarding the hen house.

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