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Indian priest faces deportation for molesting girl in US

April 05, 2014 22:26 IST

An Indian-origin priest has been sentenced to 25 years of supervised probation and faces deportation for sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl in the United States state of Minnesota, local media has reported.

Father Leo Charles Koppala, 47, pleaded guilty on March 17 to criminal sexual conduct charges involving a minor child. Koppala was charged in the case in June, 2013 and could have faced up to 36 years in prison. He had been placed on administrative leave from the Diocese of Winona since June 10, 2013, but was permanently terminated from the ministry after Monday's sentencing. He was taken into custody by the department of homeland security and will remain in custody until he is likely deported to India, CBS News reported. Koppala had been accused of sexually assaulting the girl on June 8, 2013. The victim was spending the weekend at her grandmother's house when the assault took place.

According to a criminal complaint, her grandmother invited Koppala over for supper and at one point in the evening, the victim went downstairs to watch television. Koppala later came down stairs, pulled the victim up from where she was sitting and told her that he was glad to be away from her grandmother. He then allegedly kissed the victim on the cheeks and lips and touched her inappropriately.

The victim said that Koppala also said that when she was done with school he wanted to come to her house so they could be free together and that he loved her, the complaint said. When the grandmother was interviewed, she confirmed that Koppala had gone downstairs while she was on the phone. She said that when they both came upstairs, she could tell by the victim's demeanour that she was upset about something.

After Koppala left, the victim told her what happened, the complaint said. As per his sentencing guidelines, Koppala must register as a predatory offender and have no contact with females under the age of 18.

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