It just keeps coming (Oops!)
Priest accused of US abuse still working in IndiaAssociated Press
NEW DELHI – A 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 did not respond.
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 the Most Rev. A. Almaraj, the bishop of Ootacamund. "He says he is innocent, and these are only allegations. ... I don't know what else to do."
Almaraj emphasized that Jeyapaul was engaged in only "paperwork, nothing to do with the children or anything."
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 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 against me," he said. "I do not know that girl at all."
He said he had no intention of facing the charges, and Almaraj said the church had never discussed asking him to return to the United States to appear in court.
At the time the accusations against Jeyapaul first surfaced in 2005, the priest had returned home to visit his ailing mother and officials in Minnesota's Crookston diocese told him he should stay in India, Jeyapaul said.
"My mother told me to remain here, and the (Crookston) bishop also told me not to come back, because these allegations have come against you," he said.
On Dec. 21, 2006, Monsignor Victor Balke, the-then bishop of the Crookston diocese, wrote about the accusations against Jeyapaul to both , prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Most , Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican's ambassador, to the United States. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the Vatican office that handles all abuse cases.