Sex abuse survivor astonished to learn her tormentor, Fr Joseph Jeyapaul, reinstated in Ooty – Michael O’Keeffe

Megan Peterson

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul“Peterson, repeatedly raped by Fr Joseph Jeyapaul at 14, was stunned to learn he’s reinstated by the Catholic Church: ‘He’d tell me I would have to go to confess for making him impure'” – Michael O’Keeffe

When Megan Peterson was 14, she was raped and sexually assaulted—sometimes inside the church confessional booth—over the course of a year by her parish priest.

So the abuse survivor was astounded to learn her tormentor, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, was reinstated earlier this month by Catholic Church officials after a suspension of roughly the same duration of her time as a victim.

“It’s very clear what side the Church is on and it’s not about child protection or about morality,” said Peterson, a 26-year-old artist who now lives in Queens. “The bottom line is that the Church is not protecting children.”

Peterson, the New York City coordinator for the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), charges the Church gave a virtual green light for Jeyapaul to target children in his native India.

The reverend returned to his homeland late last year, when he also appealed for a return to his priestly duties. He was suspended for less than a full year.

Peterson, who grew up in Greenbush, Minn., says she was a devout 14-year-old altar server and church choir member when the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul first raped her in his parish office.

The abuse continued for a year and some of the attacks took place in the church confessional.

Peterson told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified law enforcement officials. Jeyapaul fled to India in 2010 after he was charged with assaulting Peterson and another girl. The priest was arrested in 2012 by Interpol and extradited to the United States.

The priest pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the second girl in a plea bargain deal. The charges stemming from his alleged abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Jeyapaul was sentenced to a year in prison but was released shortly after the plea deal was reached because of time served while awaiting trial. Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Jeyapaul returned to India late last year and appealed for a return to the ministry after serving a suspension of less than a year. The diocese lifted Jeyapaul’s ban after getting approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine in January.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington did not return requests from comment and the diocese did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Peterson said the ruling by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith move is an insult to her and all other survivors of clergy abuse.

“I thought I had seen everything but I was clearly mistaken,” she said. “I’m very hurt and very angry. Actions speak louder than words and this is a slap in the face.”

The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment.

The decision to lift the priest’s suspension was particularly painful given its proximity to Pope Francis’ recent intimation of a special place in hell for bishops who enable rather than report child-molesting clergymen.

“A bishop who transfers a priest of a parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is an unconscientious man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation,” Francis said after his six-day trip to Mexico.

Jeyapaul pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a different underage girl in a plea bargain deal where the charges in his abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Peterson said she met first Jeyapaul in 2004 after his transfer to Blessed Sacrament Church, her parish in Greenbush, Minn., a small town near the Canadian border.

She was a deeply religious 14-year-old altar server and a singer in the church choir when Jeyapaul first raped her in his office, according to Peterson.

She had dreamed about becoming a nun before the abuse began, she said.

The abuse continued for almost a year, Peterson said, with Jeyapaul threatening “physical violence” if she told anybody about what happened.

Peterson, who was sexually abused when she was younger, believes she became a target because of her vulnerability. In a cruel twist, she had embraced her faith as a way to cope with the earlier abuse.

She described Jeyapaul as a predator whose first attack occurred just minutes after he invited her into his office to talk about books. – Daily News, 24 February 2016


Jeff Anderson & Mike Finnegan

Arulappan AmalrajLawsuit filed against Ooty bishop for reinstating child-raping priest – Michael O”Keeffe

A Catholic diocese in India has put children at risk by reinstating the priest who allegedly assaulted a sexual abuse survivor, according to an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday in Minnesota federal court.

The suit filed by veteran sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson on behalf of former New Yorker Megan Peterson, who recently moved to Wisconsin, names the Diocese of Ootacamund in southern India as the sole defendant.

“This is about protecting children in India from the callous antics of the Bishop of Ootacamund,” said Peterson, a member of the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Peterson, who grew up in Greenbush, Minn., says she was a devout 14-year-old altar server and church choir member when the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul first raped her in his parish office.

The abuse continued for a year and some of the attacks took place in the church confessional.

Peterson told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified law enforcement officials. Jeyapaul fled to India in 2010 after he was charged with assaulting Peterson and another girl. The priest was arrested in 2012 by Interpol and extradited to the United States.

The priest pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the second girl in a plea bargain deal. The charges stemming from his alleged abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Jeyapaul was sentenced to a year in prison but was released shortly after the plea deal was reached because of time served while awaiting trial. Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Jeyapaul returned to India late last year and appealed for a return to the ministry after serving a suspension of less than a year. The diocese lifted Jeyapaul’s ban after getting approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine in January.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington did not return requests from comment and the diocese did not respond to an email seeking comment. – Daily News, 16 April 2016

» Michael O’Keeffe is a reporter with the New York Daily News Sports Investigative Team.

Pope Francis

One Response

  1. “A bishop who transfers a priest of a parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is an unconscientious man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation,” Francis said after his six-day trip to Mexico.

    Well, Francis, Bishop of Rome, present your resignation!

    The problem the Catholic Church faces is a curious one.

    The sexual misconduct of Christian priests has be going on since the 2nd century CE (i.e. it has been recorded since the 2nd century). Emperor Constantine, in the 4th century, aware of the taste of Christian priests for exotic women and little boys, brought a thousand prostitutes and dancing boys with him to the First Church Council at Nicaea to keep the bishops entertained.

    The most famous of the ladies in this group—a circus performer—complained loudly that she didn’t have enough “pockets” to accommodate all her bishop suitors!

    (This was the most important ecumenical council where the Jewish prophet Jesus was raised to godhood by a vote of the bishops. There were two dissenting votes from the bishops from Libya. They were promptly assassinated in the night. The next day the vote went forward without dissent among the 250 plus bishops and Jesus was made a god equal to the Greek god Apollo.)

    Later. in the Middle Ages the pope forbade priests to live with their mothers and sisters for fear of their raping them!

    The celibacy rule was brought in even later to stop priests’ bastard offspring from inheriting Church property. Celibacy does not mean sexual countenance in Catholic parlance; it only means to remain unmarried.

    The Church does not consider sex with children a crime (as a French bishop recently pointed out).

    Pope Benedict, a scholar learned in canon law whose brother ran a sex camp for boys in Germany, has stated to the effect that it is quite natural for men to have sex with children!

    So the Church regards legal action against its randy priests as a form of persecution!

    It has been calculated that over one and a half million children have been abused by Catholic priests since the 1980s.

    Pope Francis is a great actor and he has fooled even non-Catholics with his calculated, dramatic humility and clever socialist rhetoric. But we see from his actions that he is really a very conservative pope who cares for nobody except the Church. So in the face of great opposition from Native Americans he has canonised the sadistic slaver of California Junipero Serra. And he intends to canonized the ruthless and cruel nun Mother Teresa in September. The plan is to attract more credulous converts in India with this unworthy ritual act of sanctification and dubious claim for miracles.

    Mother Teresa generated hundreds of millions of dollars out of the poverty of Kolkata. Much of it ended up in Vatican coffers. She also actively protected a child-abusing priest in San Francisco and wrote to the presiding judge demanding that he be excused! All this has been documented but it does not touch the Pope’s conscience at all.

    It doesn’t touch Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s conscience either. Like every Hindu politician, he remains wilfully ignorant of the criminal activities of Catholic priests and nuns in India and abroad, and has allegedly agreed to lead the delegation of Indians to the Vatican for the witch Teresa’s canonization in September.

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