Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — A 66-year-old man with ties to the Catholic Church in the Jackson area is being charged with multiple felonies after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation into clergy abuse identified another suspect accused of sexually assaulting minors.
Two individuals came forward to report they had been victims of abuse at the hands of Joseph – or Josef – Comperchio. He is facing a total of six charges:
- Two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony charge punishable by up to life in prison; and
- Four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.
The incidents in both cases reportedly occurred while the victims were between the ages of 9 and 11, and between 1974 and 1977 while Comperchio was employed as the drama/music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson.
Comperchio was arrested Monday in Fort Myers, Florida. Comperchio’s arraignment is expected at 9 a.m. Tuesday. He is being held without bond. Future court dates have not yet been set.
“My office has received hundreds of reports from people about clergy abuse and I am committed to ensuring each of those tips is thoroughly vetted and reviewed and that credible offenses are prosecuted,” Nessel said. “My team will continue to follow every lead and turn over every rock to expose the criminal and immoral behavior sexual predators have concealed in our pursuit for justice.”
The Attorney General’s office received assistance from law enforcement agencies in Fort Myers, Florida, and the U.S. Marshals Service in the arrest of Comperchio.
The Michigan Department of the Attorney General seized 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents through search warrants executed in October 2018. Including Comperchio, the Attorney General’s investigation has resulted in criminal charges being filed against 10 individuals connected to the Catholic Church.
On Monday, the Diocese of Lansing, David Kerr responded, stating in a press release:
Last year, the Diocese of Lansing received a report of sexual abuse against Mr. Joseph Comperchio, who was alleged to be a teacher at Saint John Elementary School in Jackson during the 1970’s, the time of the alleged abuse.
The Diocese of Lansing encouraged the complainant to report the allegation to the police while the Diocese also directly forwarded the allegation to the Department of Attorney General and the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney. The Diocese of Lansing, of course, abhors all sexual abuse and will continue to support all victims in reporting abuse, pursuing justice, and obtaining healing.”
To learn more about Nessel’s investigation into clergy abuse or to submit information, visit the Attorney General’s website. Tips can also be provided over the phone by calling 844-324-3374.