A Blue Earth-area priest has admitted to fondling a girl while he was attending dinner at her grandmother’s home.

The Rev. Leo Koppala pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim under age 13. He’ll be sentenced March 31.

The Diocese of Winona said the 47-year-old Koppala had been serving as pastor at the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth, and at St. Mary’s in Winnebago, when he was charged in June. He was immediately placed on leave and will remain on leave until the court proceedings end. The diocese says he’ll then likely be deported to his native India.

Messages left with Koppala’s attorney and the prosecutor were not immediately returned.

Associated Press