MN--Minnesota predator priest is returned to US
For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 18
A decade after the first allegations against him surfaced, a Catholic priest, has finally been brought back to the US where he faces criminal child sex abuse charges.
We are deeply grateful to Megan Peterson, the brave young woman who has worked so hard to protect kids from this predator and to the law enforcement officials who have worked so hard to extradite him.
For years, from India, Fr. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul fought extradition. Even though Catholic officials knew he was accused of and sued for molesting a Minnesota girl, they still let him keep working as a priest in India overseeing dozens of Catholic schools there. And throughout this long ordeal, Fr. Jeyapaul’s Catholic supervisors – in Minnesota and in India - did virtually nothing to help speed up this process or seek out more victims, witnesses and whistleblowers.
But finally, he’s being brought to justice in Minnesota. We hope his trial is scheduled quickly and that Crookston Catholic staff – from the diocesan bishop to the parish bookkeepers and everyone in between – will aggressively try to help police and prosecutors by finding others with information about his crimes.
We believe there are current and former church members and employees in northern Minnesota who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Jeyapaul or cover ups by Crookston church officials. They need to be prodded to speak up. That’s the job of the Catholic community of Crookston, starting with the bishop and continuing down through the ranks. Remember: centuries of secrecy surrounding clergy sex crimes in the church won’t be effortlessly reversed. It takes widespread and consistent work to cut through the continuing denials and to urge people who could help protect kids and imprison predators to take action.
And again, all Crookston area families – Catholic or otherwise – owe a huge debt of gratitude to Megan Peterson for her courage, compassion and persistence. We hope this extradition brings her some sorely-needed comfort and validation.
(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)