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Former predator priest Campobello released from prison
By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald Staff

Mark Campobello

 

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Published: 7/28/2010 1:03 PM

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Former Geneva priest Mark Campobello, who was convicted of molesting two girls, was released from prison Wednesday after serving about 16 months on a parole violation.

State officials said Campobello was released from Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln and put on a train to Chicago. He must list his new address on the Illinois Sex Offender registry within three days.

Campobello, 45, pleaded guilty in 2004 to molesting two girls, ages 14 and 15, at St. Peter Catholic Church in Geneva and Aurora Central Catholic High School in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

After serving about 3½ years in prison, he was released in 2008, only to return two months later - and again in April 2009 - on separate parole violations, according to public records.

On Wednesday, David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the group is "very worried" about Campobello's return to the streets.

"He's a young, smart, charismatic man going back to essentially the same area, where hundreds of families once revered him, and likely some still do," he said. "There are almost always dozens of parents who, even after a conviction or guilty plea, still believe it was all a mistake - and will still trust their kids around this man. That scares us."

The Vatican expelled Campobello during his initial prison term, and later paid more than $2 million to settle a lawsuit that held church leaders responsible for his actions.

In 2008, Campobello was sent back to prison for making three unauthorized stops on a trip away from home in violation of his parole. He returned again in 2009 because he no longer had a permanent residence in Crystal Lake.

With the latest release, Clohessy urged others who may have been molested by Campobello to come forward and prosecute him.

"If every person who had information about Campobello's crimes would call 911, he would likely face more charges and prison time," Clohessy said. "Kids would be safer as a result."