Apr 26, 2010 5:24 AM by Matt Stafford

Denver priest accused of molestation served in the Springs

The effects of a sexual abuse accusation against Denver Catholic priest, Mel Thompson, are making their way to Colorado Springs.

"We're saint and sinner, as we say, and we had to address the sin," explains Father Jim Klein, pastor at Divine Redeemer Catholic Church.

At Divine Redeemer Church, parishioners were told Father Thompson served there in the early Seventies, around the same time that the alleged abuse occurred.

"Father was here," Father Klein acknowledges. "He did a number of baptisms in our record of him being here."

Father Klein dosen't know Mel Thompson. He first told his parish that Father Thompson served there in the summer of 1970, on Saturday night.

"Last night, more seemed shocked in terms of it was very quiet," Klein says.

It was a similar response Sunday morning, and it was still a hard message for Father Klein to deliver.

"Like a lot of people that go to confession, it's tough for them to admit sometimes, and church is no different."

No allegations of wrongdoing at Divine Redeemer have been made. As standard protocol, when an accusation of abuse is made, other parishes where the accused has served are notified. Father Klein says he wasn't required to address his parish on the issue, but he did.

It gave Klein an opportunity to address what he describes as wrong doing by other clergymen, and bring local attention to a major issue.

"It's kind of being talked about here, and that makes a difference," Klein says.

Along with being open with his parishioners, Father Klein says he also wants an opportunity for anyone who was treated inappropriately to speak out.


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