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Michigan's clergy abuse investigation team secures fourth conviction

Nessel will no longer enforce emergency orders following Supreme Court decision
Posted at 4:12 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 16:12:45-04

LANSING, Mich. — A former Catholic school music teacher will serve at least a decade in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of criminal sexual conduct.

It’s the harshest prison sentence so far in the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s ongoing clergy abuse investigation, according to a news release Friday.

Joseph – or Josef – Comperchio of Fort Myers, Florida, was first charged last September in connection to 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 contact.

Five new counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two individuals were added this past October.

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

He pleaded guilty Friday morning to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The admission will result in at least 10 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as lifetime sex offender registration.

He will be subject to lifetime electronic monitoring.

“I continue to be proud of the work my clergy abuse team is doing to obtain justice in these cases,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “We remain indebted to the survivors who have come forward in order to share their stories. Their bravery is directly correlated with this accountability, and we will continue to ensure their voices are heard.”

Sentencing for Comperchio is set for 10 a.m. on Aug. 4.

Comperchio is the fourth person to plead guilty to various charges as a result of Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation.

Previously, a plea deal with Gary Jacobs was the harshest prison sentence, which is eight to 15 years in prison.

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

Tips or information about clergy abuse in Michigan may be made here or by calling 844-324-3374.