Indian priest to remain behind bars in sexual abuse case

He is charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct.

Blue Earth:

An Indian Catholic priest, who was accused of sexually assaulting a girl in the US, would remain behind bars after an appearance in the court Monday afternoon in which he was advised of his rights.
Father Leo Koppala, 47, is charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct after an alleged fondling incident involving a 12-year-old girl in the basement of one of his parishioners.
Bond has been set at US$ 75,000 for Fr. Koppala, who who belongs to Nellore diocese in Andhra Pradesh.
Fr. Koppala has been serving at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth for nearly four years.
After his arrest last week, the Diocese of Winona placed Fr. Koppala on administrative leave pending the resolution of the criminal charge.
“He asked for a bail reduction,” said County Attorney Troy Timmerman.
“The state opposed that request. The judge ordered a bail study to determine if a reduction or release is appropriate,” he added.
An omnibus hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 8, at which time Fr. Koppala can contest the charge against him.
According to the criminal complaint against Fr. Koppala, the priest had been invited for supper to a home in Blue Earth on June 7.
The 12-year-old girl was visiting for the weekend and at one point, went to the basement to watch TV when the adult in the home was on the phone.
The priest went to the basement and pulled the girl up to where he was sitting.  The complaint alleges that the priest kissed her “on the cheeks and lips” then controlled her with his hands, moving his hand to touch her breasts.
Fr. Koppala allegedly suggested that the girl come to his house after school “so they could be free together.” He also told her that he loved her.
Police Chief Tom Fletcher interviewed the priest later, and says Fr. Koppala admitted going to the basement, kissing the girl on the cheeks and mouth, and placing his hand on her chest.
But the priest said he does not believe that he touched her breasts and said he meant something different with the suggestion that they could be “free together.”
Source: myfox47

Catholic Priest , Nellore Diocese , Sexual Abuse
Map showing location of district in Andhra Pra...

Map showing location of district in Andhra Pradesh in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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United Arab Emirates opens $5m Catholic church

Existing church is occasionally 10 times over capacity.

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Abu Dhabi:

Vatican representative Cardinal Fernando Filoni will open the new Catholic church in Ras Al Khaimah on Friday.
Cardinal Filoni, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, will consecrate the 5,000 square metre St Anthony of Padua Church in the Al Jazira Al Hamra district, about 25 km from the city.
Other officials who will attend the event include Archbishop Petar Rajic, Apostolic Nuncio to the Arabian Peninsula and Bishop Paul Hinder, Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia.
“This is a great achievement,” said Fr Galdolf Josef, 73-year-old secretary of Abu Dhabi-based Bishop Paul Hinder, of the Dh18.5-million church. “Ras Al Khaimah is developing quite a bit, especially its industries and tourism, and so is the number of migrant workers. We’re thankful to the Ruler [of Ras Al Khaimah] for giving us the land.”
There are about 6,000 Catholics in Ras Al Khaimah, said the Swiss prelate.
In the UAE there are an estimated 700,000 Catholics who go to 10 churches and served by about 40 priests speaking a dozen languages.
“The church is very much alive here, in Africa and certainly in Asia. All of the members are migrant workers. Besides Filipinos, Indians and Christian Arabs, we have a growing number of Korean Catholics too. Services in rather small churches here are packed, while in Europe, big and beautiful cathedrals are almost empty,” Fr Galdolf said.
The 1,200-seat church can accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers. Two major roads link the new church to Umm Al Qwain, Ajman and Sharjah.
The existing chapel in RAK’s Al Nakheel district, meant for 500 parishioners, sometimes caters to more than 10 times its capacity.
Source: Gulf news

United Arab Emirates , Catholic Church
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