Former Catholic priest’s extradition case adjourned

Jeyapaul is accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl in 2004 when he was parish priest of Blessed Sacrament Church in Minnesota, U.S.

Posted on May 5, 2012, 8:23 AM

 

By Rita Joseph
New Delhi:A Delhi court hearing the extradition case of former priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, charged with sexual assault of a minor in the United States, adjourned the case until May 18.

No hearing took place as Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal in whose court the trial is taking place was on leave Friday.

Jeyapaul is accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl in 2004 when he was parish priest of Blessed Sacrament Church in Minnesota, U.S.

The 57-year-old former clergyman, who was suspended by Ootacamund diocese following a canonical trial, has repeatedly denied the charges.

Foreign priests are invited to the United States to fill in the shortage of priests there.

At the previous hearing on April 4, the priest’s counsel Bhivani Mohan filed an application seeking discharge of the case on the ground that the allegation is “baseless” and the arrest “illegal.”

He argued that Jeyapaul’s arrest on March 16 in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district following an Interpol alert was illegal as no arrest warrant was served on him.

Special Public Prosecutor Navin Krishna Giri had sought time to answer the charge and the magistrate had fixed April 21 for the next hearing.

However, the case was not taken up on that date as the magistrate was on leave.

According to the prosecution case, India has signed an extradition treaty with the United States and that after due process of law, the priest will be extradited.

In July last year, Crookston diocese where Jeyapaul worked from September 2004 to August 2005 agreed to pay a US$750,000 settlement to the alleged victim.

According the law of the land, employers are responsible for their employees’ actions.

On April 30 another Indian priest Sleeva Raju Policetti, who was charged with 20 counts of criminal sexual assault and abuse of a 16-year-old Chicago girl and awaiting extradition, was set free.

Cook County prosecutors said that they are ending their decade-long effort to extradite Policetti as his alleged victim did not want to pursue the case any more.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, its investigations have found that since 1985, at least 32 Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. have absconded to foreign countries while facing criminal charges or investigations. Only five have been returned to face trial.

Priest , Sex Charge , Delhi Court , Extradition , Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul

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