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Former Catholic school teacher sentenced to at least 12 years in prison in abuse case

Joseph Comperchio (Lee County Sheriff)
Joseph Comperchio (Lee County Sheriff)(WILX/Lee County Sheriff)
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:55 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A former Catholic school music teacher will serve more than a decade in prison as the fourth person convicted in the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s ongoing clergy abuse investigation. It’s the harshest prison sentence to be handed down thus far, according to Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Joseph – or Josef – Comperchio, 67, of Fort Myers, Florida, was first charged last September for sexually abusing two children. In those cases, he was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Then in October of last year, five new counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two new individuals were added.

In June, Comperchio pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Today Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Susan. B. Jordan sentenced Comperchio to 12 to 30 years in prison and he must also register as a sex offender.

“The dedication of our clergy abuse team – and the willingness of brave survivors to tell their stories – ensured justice was served against Mr. Comperchio,” Nessel said. “Let this prison sentence be a reminder that we are here to listen to victims of abuse and pursue accountability on their behalf.”

The charges stemmed from Comperchio’s time as the drama and music teacher at St. John Catholic School in Jackson in the 1970s.

He was the fourth individual to plead guilty to various charges as a result of Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation.

Previously, a successful plea deal with Gary Jacobs was the harshest prison sentence secured. Jacobs’ sentence is between eight and 15 years in prison.

Former priests Patrick Casey and Brian Stanley pleaded guilty in their respective cases in 2019.

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