ND--Victims hold 2 events at Catholic office/church
Victims to hold 2 ND events about pedophile
Convicted predator will soon be back on the job
Despite priest’s guilt, Vatican officials have lifted his suspension
In 2 weeks, Catholic supervisors will give him a new assignment
So group wants to find other “victims, witnesses or whistleblowers”
SNAP: “Another criminal case is our only chance to protect children”
Holding signs and childhood photos at two events, clergy sex abuse victims will
--prod anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to call law enforcement immediately, (especially by a convicted priest who molested kids in northwestern Minnesota but is being put back on the job),
--urge parishioners to insist that Crookston Catholic officials help with this “outreach effort,” and
--call on “Vatican bureaucrats” to “reverse their decision, re-instate the predator priest’s suspension, and help law enforcement charge and convict him again.”
Monday, April 18, 2016
--In GRAND FORKS, ND at/around 11 a.m. - outside two churches: St. Michael’s (524 5th Ave. N. near 6th Street, 701-772-2624, http://www.stmichaelsgf.com/parish/) and St. Mary’s (216 Belmont Road near Second, 701-775-9318, http://www.stmarysgfnd.com/)
--In FARGO, ND at 1:45 p.m. - outside the diocesan headquarters (5201 Bishops Blvd., near 52nd Ave. South, 701) 235-6429)
Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Minnesota woman who was raped as a child by a Crookston area priest and a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director.
Weeks ago, Vatican officials lifted the suspension of a Catholic priest who pled guilty to child sex crimes last year in northwestern Minnesota. That move is prompting SNAP to aggressively seek out other victims in seven ND/MN towns hoping that cleric can be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned again.
Though he worked in Minnesota, SNAP believes he also spent time in North Dakota and that one or more victims, witnesses or whistleblowers may be in North Dakota.
Next month, Catholic officials in India say they’ll re-assign Fr. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, despite the fact that he’s accused of molesting two Crookston area girls, was convicted of sexually assaulting one of them, and his bosses settled two civil lawsuit involving him (one for $750,000).
“Our goal is to find just one more victim who might be able to file criminal charges and get this proven predator behind bars again,” said Peterson.
“Catholic officials refuse to keep this admitted sex offender away from kids, so our only hope of stopping him is to get him behind bars again,” said Dorris. “I’m stunned that top church staff are being so extraordinarily irresponsible, knowing this man is guilty of abusing one girl and is accused of molesting at least two girls.”
“Fr. Jeyapaul worked in two parishes that are just an hour from Grand Forks, so we’re pretty sure he spent time in Fargo diocese, substituting for an ill or vacationing priest or attending a big ordination” said Clohessy. “And remember: in seconds, a predator can shove his tongue into a girl’s mouth or his hand into a boy’s pants.”
SNAP also suspects that “one or more victims, witnesses or whistleblowers from the Crookston area now live in or near Grand Forks.”
The two women are also going to four Minnesota towns where Fr. Jeyapaul worked (Thief River Falls, Middle River, Greenbush and Karlstad) and the Crookston diocese headquarters.
Fr. Jeyapaul has attracted international attention, especially in 2014 when a United Nations panel blasted the Vatican for putting kids’ in harm’s way, citing how the church hierarchy has dealt with the Indian priest.
Prosecutors spent years trying to get the priest extradited from India back to the US.
“We’re heartbroken that kids in India are vulnerable now and may be even more vulnerable soon,” Dorris said. “We feel morally compelled to do something, anything that might get him imprisoned and spare other girls the horrific trauma Megan and others have had to endure.”
“Fargo Bishop John Folda (701-356-7900, 701-356-7945, [email protected]) and Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner (218-281-4533, [email protected],[email protected]) both have a moral and civic duty to use parish bulletins church websites, pulpit announcements and personal visits to seek out anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Jeyapaul,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP. “We believe that’s what a true ‘shepherd’ would do.”
Sunday afternoon and evening, they’re going to Thief River Falls, Middle River, Greenbush and Karlstad. “Our goal is to see if we can find and help another girl, teenager or young woman who was hurt by this child molesting cleric,” said Dorris.
“He’ll be tempted to claim ‘Fr. Jeyapaul’s not my responsibility,’ but that’s callous hairsplitting,” said Dorris. “There’s a chance that Bishop Folda might stop one Indian girl from being raped, stop one struggling US victim from committing suicide or prod one suffering North Dakota victim to seek therapy. So it’s cold-hearted of him to passively sit back and do nothing.”
“But no matter what church staff do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions in northern Minnesota to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours,” said Dorris. “This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.”
In 2005, then-Crookston Bishop Victor Balke wrote the Vatican saying Fr. Jeyapaul “repeatedly kissed” a sixteen year old girl, “pulling her on top of him and at one point touching her beneath her clothing .... there were other incidents of similar behavior” between 2004 and 2005.
In 2006, Bishop Balke wrote that Vatican officials that "Fr. Jeyapaul had 'rubbed up against (a girl) in the rectory and the confessional at Middle River, fondled her breasts, exposed himself to her, and forced his penis into her mouth," adding that "it is impossible to say that Father Jeyapaul does not at present pose a risk to minors."
In March of 2007, a criminal complaint was filed in Roseau County charging that Fr. Jeyapaul penetrated a of girl and threatened her and her family
In August of that year, while criminal charges were pending against him, Fr. Jeyapaul was working at his home diocese’s education office, which oversees 40 schools.
In 2010, he was suspended from ministry and in 2012 he was arrested. In 2014, he was extradited and he pled guilty in 2015 but freed due to “time served” and was expelled from the U.S.
Photos and more information about Fr. Jeyapaul are available at BishopAccountability.org
Other publicly accused Fargo area child molesting Catholic clerics include: Abraham Anthony, Timothy C. Conlon, Charles Fischer, Jr., Gregory (Zbigniew) Patejko, Fernando Sayasaya, Alan Storey and David D. Wild.
Roseau County Attorney Lisa Hanson prosecuted Fr. Jeyapaul. St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson represented his victims.