MN- Fugitive Indian predator priest loses appeal
For immediate release: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Statement by Verne Wagner of Duluth, Northeast MN (Duluth, MN & Superior, WI) SNAP director (218- 340-1277, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A credibly accused predatory Indian priest has lost another court ruling and is now one step closer to facing a trial in Minnesota. For the safety of children and the healing of victims, we hope he will be extradited soon.
Fr. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul is accused of molesting two girls. When child sex abuse allegations against him surfaced, he quickly returned to India, where he remains.
Twice this year, United Nations panels have harshly criticized Vatican officials for their refusal to help law enforcement apprehend this dangerous cleric, Fr. Jeyapaul, who molested girls in the Crookston, MN diocese and worked at one event (maybe more) in the St. Paul Archdiocese.
We’ve long worried about the safety of girls in India near Fr. Jeyapaul, especially since his bishop put him in charge of overseeing schools, knowing full well that he was considered a fugitive from US criminal authorities.
Fr. Jeyapaul is one of an increasing number of accused predator priests who have been allowed to flee to other countries despite credible child sex abuse allegations or sometimes arrest warrants.
According to BishopAccountability.org, Minnesota Catholic officials “knew of rumors about inappropriate behavior by (Jeyapaul) in 8/04” but Fr. Jeyapaul “suddenly returned to India in 9/05.”
We applaud Fr. Jeyapaul’s brave victims, especially Megan Peterson. We are grateful to law enforcement – in the US and in India – for pursuing this dangerous predator.
It’s tragic that it takes so much time and international pressure – from victims, journalists and law enforcement - to get Catholic officials to simply honor their legal obligation and get a predator priest back to America to face justice.
Bishops in Minnesota and India have protected and continue to protect this serial child predator, by paying him, moving him, and concealing records about him and his crimes. Shame on them.
And shame on every Vatican official who has refused to take action to safeguard children from Fr. Jeyapaul.
We call on every Catholic employee and parishioner – in Minnesota and in India – who has suspicions or knowledge of Jeyapaul’s crimes to call police and prosecutors immediately.
Here's a statement from one of Fr. Jeyapaul's victims made several years ago.
At least one of Fr. Jeyapaul's victims was represented by St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Verne Wagner of Duluth, Northeast MN (218- 340-1277, firstname.lastname@example.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.