The Corner

In Case You Missed It …

because this is not a headline that puts news networks in frenzy mode — “US Catholic church moving faster on abuse cases”:

DENVER — The action against the priest was swift and public.

Within five days of receiving a decades-old child sex abuse allegation against the Rev. Melvin Thompson, Denver’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese investigated, alerted law enforcement and announced his suspension to parishioners and the public.

The archdiocese says Thompson, 74, maintains his innocence. Some parishioners have complained the process was unfair and too fast. However Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput called prompt action “painful but necessary.”

On April 7, the archdiocese said it received a complaint from a man who alleged he was sexually abused by Thompson in the early 1970s. The next day, Chaput said he removed the popular Thompson from his position as assistant pastor at St. Thomas More Parish in suburban Centennial and suspended his ability to function publicly as a priest.

Over the weekend, a letter from Chaput was read at seven Colorado parishes where Thompson has served.

The Denver Police Department said Tuesday the archdiocese reported the allegation last week, but that no police investigation would be launched because the case falls outside the statute of limitations. Jeanette DeMelo, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said the archdiocese will conduct its own investigation.

Efforts to reach Thompson for comment were unsuccessful.

In his archdiocesan newspaper column this week, Chaput wrote that Thompson has “no previous allegation of any sexual misconduct with a minor in his priestly history.” He said Thompson has been a “popular and effective priest,” and emphasized that a presumption of innocence “must be respected.”

“Prompt action is painful for the whole local church,” Chaput wrote, “but it’s a necessary course to protect people’s trust in their parish and in the archdiocese.”

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