Five new counts against former St. John Catholic teacher

The case is part of state AG Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation.
Joseph Comperchio (Lee County Sheriff)
Joseph Comperchio (Lee County Sheriff)(WILX/Lee County Sheriff)
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 9:06 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:48 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Former St Johns Catholic School Teacher Joseph (Josef) Comperchio, 66, appeared in court via zoom Wednesday to be formally read new charges against him.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced five new counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two individuals who recently came forward. Four of the counts occurred when the victims were under the age of 13, and the fifth was while the victim was physically helpless – second-degree criminal sexual conduct–injury to incapacitated victim. All charges are 15-year felonies.

“My office stands committed to seeking justice for all of those who have been assaulted or taken advantage of and we will continue to review the circumstances in each case with careful scrutiny and file charges when the evidence demands it,” said Nessel. “I continue to be encouraged by the victims who come forward to share their experiences, which are undoubtedly difficult stories to tell and serve as a reminder to the rest of us that the pain which can be inflicted when predators prey on the vulnerable remains long after the reported incident.”

The former drama and music teacher is accused of the sexual abuse while instructing at Saint John Catholic School in Jackson. The incidents reportedly occurred between 1975 and 1977 when the victims were between the ages of 9 and 11.

This is the 11th charge against him.

It is all a part of state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation. Zach Hiner, Executive Director Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says they are supporting victims throughout the process and are grateful to the state.

“You can just see from the work that she’s doing, she’s getting dangerous men off of the streets. She’s getting secrets out into the open, and she’s providing information that will bring more survivors forward,” said Hines. “It’s yet another one of those kind of cases where we see, you know, elements of obfuscation and minimization .You know, we don’t know exactly what happened with the initial reports. But we do know that he went on to teach and other locations around the country and we fear that there may be more victims.”

In September, Comperchio was arrested in Fort Meyers, FL on the first set of charges. He waived extradition and was returned to Michigan on Oct. 1.

Comperchio is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on the new charges in Jackson County 12th District Court.

WILX will continue to update this story as more information is made available.

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