The women who were sexually abused by the Indian born Catholic priest Jeyapaul when they were teenagers, were reacting to the verdict announced hours ago in a Roseau County District Court, Minnesota.
“They are happy that justice has finally been served but they are saddened by the fact that the “priest perpetrator” problem still exists and it goes on,” said Patrick Wall, a victim’s advocate for the law firm of Jeff Anderson, which filed the civil cases for the two women on their behalf.
Wall, a former Catholic priest, who co-authored a book on the sex abuses by Catholic priests through the years as documented in Latin tests called Sex, Priests and Secret Codes, also said the victims are worried that Jeyapaul will return to priesthood to India and may abuse other young women.
Jeyapaul, 60, was sentenced to one year and one day behind bars, which is equal to time he has already served while awaiting court proceedings.
He has been in custody since he was arrested in India in 2012 to face the criminal charges of abusing the two girls while serving as a priest in the Catholic Diocese in Crookston in 2004 and 2005.
Last month, as part of a plea deal, Jeyapaul agreed to plead guilty for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and now will be deported to India immediately.
However, he was only found guilty of abusing one teen and charges were dropped in the second case.
Prosecutor Heidi Fisher Davies said she was satisfied with the outcome and said that she dropped the charges in the second case because it would have been difficult to get a conviction. She did not disclose the “issues that arose.”
Bishops Resign Over Scandal
The news of Jeyapaul’s sentencing was quickly overshadowed by breaking news that the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and a deputy bishop resigned on Monday after prosecutors recently charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect youths from abuse by paedophile priests.
In statements released Monday morning, the archbishop, John C Nienstedt, and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A Piché, said they were resigning to help the archdiocese heal.
Anderson who has represented many victims of sexual abuse by clergy said in an interview that “top officials needed to be held accountable for their actions, and that criminal charges would be appropriate for some of them.”
Jeyapaul came to Minnesota in 2004 and served at Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenbush. He returned to India in 2005 and was brought back to Minnesota last year to face charges. Vatican officials recommended his removal from the priesthood, but he remained a priest in India.