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Wanted priest to fight extradition

Says accusations he molested two teenagers in US are completely false

  • ucanews.com reporter, Chennai
  • India
  • March 19, 2012
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A fugitive Indian Catholic priest wanted in the United States for allegedly molesting two teenage girls will fight extradition, his lawyer said today.

Pappa Mohan, a lawyer representing Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, said they will fight the extradition since the priest “is innocent of all charges” against him.

Police in southern Tamil Nadu state arrested the 57-year-old priest while he was visiting a friend on Friday at the request of Interpol.

The lawyer said the priest, from Ootacamund diocese, will appear before a court in New Delhi today.

Last year, the Indian priest grabbed international headlines following media reports he allegedly molested a teenager while serving in a diocese in the US.

In an interview with ucanews.com on April 6, 2010, Fr Jeyapaul denied the allegations.

“I am innocent. There is no truth in these accusations. I am not guilty.”

He said some people make such allegations to make money out of priests.

In July last year, Crookston diocese in Minnesota, where the priest worked from September 2004 to August 2005, agreed to pay a US$750,000 settlement with Megan Peterson, another alleged victim.

On his return to India soon after the allegations were made, Ootacamund diocese suspended him.

“We are very sad about the turn of events,” diocesan procurator Father Sebastian Selvanathan said regarding the priest’s arrest.

The Church official said the diocese has not received any complaints from any other parishes or schools the priest had worked in.

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