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Second lawsuit accuses Crookston priest of sexual abuse

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH
  • Star Tribune
  • June 14, 2012 - 10:57 PM

A Catholic priest on loan from India who served in the Diocese of Crookston is accused in a new lawsuit of sexually abusing a teenage girl in 2005.

The plaintiff in the suit filed Wednesday, identified as Jane Doe 122, is the second woman to sue the diocese over claims of abuse by the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul. The priest was serving at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Greenbush, Minn., when the alleged abuse occurred.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who has represented hundreds of victims in clergy sex-abuse cases, announced the lawsuit filed in Roseau County District Court during a news conference Thursday at his law offices in St. Paul.

Anderson said Jane Doe was in her mid-teens at the time of the abuse, which occurred at the church rectory. She has also reported the charges to authorities in Roseau County, Anderson said.

In September, Megan Peterson, now 22, settled a civil lawsuit against the diocese for $750,000 and provisions that required the diocese to warn Catholics in India of Jeyapaul's history and provide child protection and outreach to other potential victims in the Diocese of Crookston.

Peterson attended the news conference Thursday and spoke in support of Jane Doe. She also recounted being abused by Jeyapaul in 2005 in the church confessional.

The Diocese of Crookston could not be reached for comment about the lawsuit on Thursday. The diocese did issue an apology after the first case was settled.

Jeyapaul returned to India before criminal charges involving Peterson's case were filed in 2006. He has denied the allegations and had been in active ministry in India working with children for years, according to reports.

In March, Jeyapaul was arrested in India and appeared before a court in New Delhi on the sex abuse charges. He remains jailed awaiting extradition to Minnesota to face abuse charges, Anderson said.

Rose French • 612-673-4352

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