Diocese in India weighs lawsuit filed in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Catholic diocese in southern India is consulting attorneys about a lawsuit filed against it in the U.S. after it re-assigned a priest who was convicted of child sex abuse in Minnesota.

The federal lawsuit was filed in Minnesota on behalf of Megan Peterson, who says the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul abused her in 2004 when he served at her church in Greenbush, Minnesota. Peterson was 14 or 15 years old at the time.

Peterson says she felt re-victimized in February when the Ootacamund Diocese bishop lifted Jeyapaul’s suspension. Jeyapaul pleaded guilty last year to molesting one girl. Under the plea deal, charges of molesting Peterson were dismissed.

Ootacamund diocese spokesman, Rev. Sebastian Selvanathan, says the bishop won’t comment until they have consulted lawyers. Ootacamund is in Tamil Nadu state.