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AG Nessel charges former Catholic School teacher for sexually assaulting minors

Photo courtesy of WBBH-TV
Photo courtesy of WBBH-TV(WBBH)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 10:47 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that multiple felony charges have been filed against a man who was employed as the drama and music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson.

Two individuals came forward to report they had been victims of abuse at the hands of Joseph – or Josef – Comperchio who is 66. 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 at the school. Comperchio was arrested Monday in Fort Myers, Florida.

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.

Comperchio’s arraignment is expected at 9 a.m. Tuesday. He is being held without bond. Future court dates have not yet been set.

The Attorney General’s office said it is grateful for the cooperation and assistance of 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 said in a release that it 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.

Following the arrest and charge in Florida on Monday of Comperchio a spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing, David Kerr, released a statement.

“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 statement read. “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.”

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