Indian Catholic News

Indian priest to remain behind bars in sexual abuse case

He is charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct.

Blue Earth: 

An Indian Catholic priest, who was accused of sexually assaulting a girl in the US, would remain behind bars after an appearance in the court Monday afternoon in which he was advised of his rights.

Father Leo Koppala, 47, is charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct after an alleged fondling incident involving a 12-year-old girl in the basement of one of his parishioners.

Bond has been set at US$ 75,000 for Fr. Koppala, who who belongs to Nellore diocese in Andhra Pradesh.

Fr. Koppala has been serving at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth for nearly four years.

After his arrest last week, the Diocese of Winona placed Fr. Koppala on administrative leave pending the resolution of the criminal charge.

"He asked for a bail reduction," said County Attorney Troy Timmerman.

"The state opposed that request. The judge ordered a bail study to determine if a reduction or release is appropriate," he added.

An omnibus hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 8, at which time Fr. Koppala can contest the charge against him.

According to the criminal complaint against Fr. Koppala, the priest had been invited for supper to a home in Blue Earth on June 7.

The 12-year-old girl was visiting for the weekend and at one point, went to the basement to watch TV when the adult in the home was on the phone.

The priest went to the basement and pulled the girl up to where he was sitting. The complaint alleges that the priest kissed her "on the cheeks and lips" then controlled her with his hands, moving his hand to touch her breasts.

Fr. Koppala allegedly suggested that the girl come to his house after school "so they could be free together." He also told her that he loved her.

Police Chief Tom Fletcher interviewed the priest later, and says Fr. Koppala admitted going to the basement, kissing the girl on the cheeks and mouth, and placing his hand on her chest.

But the priest said he does not believe that he touched her breasts and said he meant something different with the suggestion that they could be "free together."

Source: myfox47

Top Stories