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Priest Accused of Abusing Teenager Hiding In India

by @ 1:49 pm on April 5, 2010. Filed under Catholic Church, Religion

And, it continues:

NEW DELHI (AP) — A Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Minnesota is working in his home diocese in India and has no plans to return to the U.S. to face the courts, he and his bishop told The Associated Press on Monday.

Church documents obtained by the AP show the Vatican was alerted to the accusations against the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul more than three years ago but, according to the bishop, the Most Rev. A. Almaraj, did not take any part in disciplining him.

The priest has received only a minor punishment and is currently working in his bishop’s office processing teacher appointments for a dozen church schools in the diocese of Ootacamund in southern India.

”We cannot simply throw out the priest, so he is just staying in the bishop’s house, and he is helping me with the appointment of teachers,” said Almaraj, the bishop of Ootacamund. ”He says he is innocent, and these are only allegations. … I don’t know what else to do.”

You could turn him over to the American courts system to face trial. If he’s innocent, then he has a good shot at being acquitted.

To be fair, it should be noted that these are only charges and that the priest in question denies them:

Jeyapaul is currently wanted on two counts of criminal sexual conduct stemming from accusations he assaulted a young, female parishioner in the fall of 2004 at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenbush, Minnesota, where he was working. Each charge carries a sentence of up to 30 years.

According to the criminal complaint, the teenage girl accused Jeyapaul of threatening to kill her family if she did not come into the rectory, where he then forced her to perform oral sex on him and groped her in the fall of 2004.

In a telephone call with The Associated Press, Jeyapaul denied the charges.

”It is a false accusation against me,” he said. ”I do not know that girl at all.”

Then why are you hiding in another country, Father ?

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