Indian Catholic priest pays $7,50,000 to setltle sexual assualt of a girl in US

published on September 10, 2011

A Roman Catholic Diocese in the US where an Indian priest is alleged to have sexually assaulted an American girl several times when she was a teenager has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a lawsuit against him.

Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, who now serves as Secretary of Education Commission in the Diocese of Ootacamund (Tamil Nadu) had been charged with sexually assaulting two girls while he was posted at the Crookston Diocese in Northern Minnesota in 2004.

The victim, Megan Peterson, 20, said Jeyapaul sexually abused her when she went to speak to him about becoming a nun.

Jeyapaul ministered three parishes in Crookston where he was accused of misappropriating church funds and sexual abuse.

Charges were filed by the girl after the Church refused to answer her calls. Jeyapaul returned to India before the charges came to light.

“Right now Jeyapaul is a fugitive from justice in the United States. The Vatican and Bishop of Ootacamund in India are admitting him to remain in the ministry in India and are putting their reputation over the well being and safety of children of whom we are concerned right now,” the woman’s attorney Jeff Anderson said.

The plaintiff, Megan Peterson, and the Diocese of Crookston agreed to terms of settlement on July 13, 2011, prior to a trial.

A payment of USD 750,000 was agreed upon, an amount covered by Diocese’s insurance.

Peterson says she was 14 and aspiring to become a nun when she was raped several times by Jeyapaul.

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