A small group of advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse plans to gather in front of the Twin Cities archdiocese chancery office in St. Paul Thursday to urge Catholic leaders to seek out other potential abuse victims, who may have been assaulted by a former Minnesota parish priest.
Among the expected protestors will be Megan Peterson, a Minnesota college student, who has spoken publicly about being raped when she was 14 years old by the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, a priest from India who served at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Greenbush (in the northwestern Minnesota diocese of Crookston) in 2004.
Jeyapaul, 57, an Indian citizen, has denied abusing Peterson.
Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported police in southern India arrested Jeyapaul, who was wanted in the U.S. on criminal charges of sexually assaulting Peterson.
Jeyapaul appeared Monday “in a New Delhi court and will be held in custody pending a formal U.S. request for his extradition, to be filed along with case evidence, government officials said. Processing the request could take up to three months,” The AP reports.
“Police detained Jeyapaul on Friday near the southern Indian town of Erode after Interpol issued an alert, police Subinspector Pugal Maran said.”
Jeyapaul “returned to India in 2005 to visit his ailing mother, and was asked not to return to the Minnesota church after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old. The criminal case relating to the 14-year-old was filed later. Jeyapaul never returned to the United States.”
“Vatican officials recommended Jeyapaul’s removal from the priesthood, but the local Indian bishop instead sentenced him to a year in a monastery through a canonical trial.”
In September, the diocese of Crookston agreed to pay Peterson $750,000 as part of a settlement agreement.
At Thursday’s 1:30 p.m. gathering, organized by the local chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the group wants Catholic leaders to “seek out more people who may have been hurt by the cleric” and “do ‘more than just the bare minimum’ with pedophile priests,” according to a statement released by SNAP.