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Du Quoin doctor won't face sexual abuse charges

  • Carl Joseph Campanella

    Carl Joseph Campanella
    Courtesy of the Jackson County Jail

By Pete Spitler
updated: 1/4/2018 2:06 PM

Du Quoin resident Dr. Joseph Campanella will not face an aggravated criminal sexual abuse charge in Jackson County in connection to an October incident involving a 15-year-old juvenile male in De Soto.
According to a declination of prosecution report prepared by Jackson County State's Attorney Michael Carr and dated Jan. 2, the State formally declined to prosecute the 65-year-old Campanella due to a "reasonably effective defense" that Campanella did not know the age of the teen.
"In this case, the suspect cooperated with police," Carr wrote in the report. "He verified that he met the youth through a dating site which requires participation to verify that they are 18 years of age.
"The statutory defense to this charge arises if the suspect reasonably believes that the youth is 17 or older."
The report states the youth told police he lied about his age to gain access to the dating website Grindr - where he and Campanella apparently met - and did not tell Campanella his real age.
"The prosecutor's responsibility if such a defense is raised is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect's belief was unreasonable," Carr wrote. "Under the circumstances of this case, this cannot be done."
Carr's report stated the teen did not tell Campanella how old he was and although the teen appeared to be younger than 18, "there is nothing to suggest that the suspect believed he was under 17."
A person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct takes place with a victim who is at least 13 years old, but under 17 years old.
Carr's report stated that in order to charge someone with that offense - a Class 2 felony with a punishment range of three to seven years in prison and a fine up to $25,000, if convicted - it has to be reasonably believed that the defendant knew the victim was between 13 and 17 years of age.
"The youth admitted that when asked about his youthful appearance, he did nothing to suggest that he was under 17," Carr wrote. "The reasonableness of a person's judgement that someone is over 17 is not subject to precise measurement.
"The difference in appearance between a 15-and-17-year-old is so subjective that, absent proof that the suspect knew his real age, a prosecution for this offense cannot be brought."
Carr's report states Campanella and the teen were discovered by a De Soto police officer on Oct. 25 "in various stages of undress" in a car outside the former The Gallery strip club.
Both admitted to a sexual encounter. The teen reported to police that Campanella performed sex acts on him and was preparing to have sexual intercourse with him when they were discovered.

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