Crookston Diocese settles with fugitive priest's sex abuse victim

Categories: Crime
jeff anderson press conference jeyapaul.jpg
Jeff Anderson and Megan Peterson spoke about Joseph Jeyapaul's offenses.
Joseph Jeyapaul might never face trial for what he did to Megan Peterson, but the Crookston Diocese has made its own choice not to fight the case.

Yesterday, Peterson's attorney Jeff Anderson announced a "groundbreaking" settlement of $750,000, with the Diocese paying out large amount for Jeyapaul's long-ago sin.

Along with the sum of money, the Diocese has agreed to post Jeyapaul's picture and information about the case on its website. It has also promised to reach out to and work with other potential victims of Jeyapaul's.

In his press conference, with a visibly upset Peterson by his side, Anderson said the lawsuit and settlement were about more than what Jeyapaul did to Peterson.

"We are here today because we are scared -- we are very scared," Anderson said. "We are scared because we know that Joseph Jeyapaul, a priest from India, raped Megan as a child. We know he did it to others, and we also know that he was allowed to flee to India. And we also know that Joseph Jeyapaul, the priest offender, has been and was in ministry -- and still is, as far as we know."

The accusations against Jeyapaul are detailed in a graphic criminal complaint filed by Roseau County in March 2007. At that time, Peterson said that when she was 14 or 15 Jeyapaul masturbated in front of her, forced her to give him oral sex, and groped her. When it was over, Jeyapaul said he or someone else could kill her if she told anyone about it.

joseph jeyapaul.jpg
Joseph Jeyapaul told ABC News he's not guilty.
In the spring of 2010, ABC News located Jeyapaul in India, where he was still working as a Catholic minister. Jeyapaul denied Peterson's accusations against him, and said he would be willing to return to the United States for a trial.

"I did not commit any sin against anybody," Jeyapaul told ABC News. "They are asking money from the Diocese. That is the motive behind it."

In one of Jeyapaul's e-mails to another suspected victim, most of which are repetitive and written with poor grammar, he makes reference to Peterson's wanting to "tell the bishop the truth."

"So everything i sacrificed for you i lost my good friends in greenbush on account of you i was unable to come back to greenbush. But now you tell that you want to tell the bishop the truth. But now you tell that you want to tell the bishop the truth. It made me angry and mad. I love you so much but you don't understand me again and again you want to spoil my name."
In that e-mail and others, Jeyapaul makes repeated reference to his desire for that victim -- who has not come forward, and is not named -- to come visit him in India. He asks for her measurements to he can have clothes made for her, and tells her they can go wherever she wants when she gets there.

Megan Peterson struggled through yesterday's press conference, but reiterated the case was about more than just her.

"I want people to know that, you know, they don't have to come forward with their names," Peterson said. "But for me I just want to take action and do the best I can to protect kids and let people know they're not alone."

According to the Pioneer Press, the press conference became too much for Peterson at one point, and she left the room in distress. Later, she told reporters she'd needed to get away because she "felt sick."

The Diocese has yet to post anything about Jeyapaul on its website as of this morning, but does have a webpage which lists a 24-hour confidential phone number that priest abuse victims can call.
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Patrick O'Malley
Patrick O'Malley

Why don't they do a full FBI investigation to see what the priests and bishops knew about this and other pedophile priests in the Catholic church?  In cases THIS YEAR in Philadelphia and Kansas City where the Catholic church has been investigated, it has been proven that they intentionally moved pedophile priests and hid pedophile priests.  

At what point to Minnesota Catholics demand an investigation and do what God would want them to do - uncover the truth that Catholic bishops are hiding.

Melanie Jula Sakoda
Melanie Jula Sakoda

Bravo Megan! You are indeed a hero, and I applaud your bravery.

Melanie Jula SakodaSNAP East Bay Directormelanie.sakoda@gmail@gmail:disqus 925-708-6175.com

Anne MacDonald
Anne MacDonald

If  victems that are abused by cathloic priests can form class action law suit, and the victems don't have to go to  court. I feel victems that have been sexually abused by lay people, should also be able to form a class action lawsuit, so they too would not have to go to court & be humilated be more emotionally damaged. We need to get the government to change the laws of the pedophiles to stiffer penalies, like life in prison without parole.

Judy Block-Jones
Judy Block-Jones

Megan Petersonis very brave and is to be commended forspeaking up and taking action to expose the truth about Joseph Jeyapaul.. This is not an easy thing to do, but hopefully otherswho may have been harmed by Jeyapaul.will also speak up and contactpolice. Keep in mindyour silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing,exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director,636-433-2511snapjudy@gmail.com"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.

Judy Block-Jones
Judy Block-Jones

Megan Petersonis very brave and is to be commended forspeaking up and taking action to expose the truth about Joseph Jeyapaul.. This is not an easy thing to do, but hopefully otherswho may have been harmed by Jeyapaul.will also speak up and contactpolice. Keep in mindyour silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing,exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director,636-433-2511snapjudy@gmail.com"Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.http://www.snapnetwork.org/

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

Al Queda kills 3000 people on 9/11 and eventually America gets a real man (Obama) who has Osama Bin Laden shot in the eye for his crimes.

The Catholic Church runs an international pedophile ring that victimizes thousands of children.  Not only that but the Pope protected and covered up for a pedophile priest who molested deaf children.   The Vatican currently is hiding Bernie Law from the police, protecting him from paying for his crimes.   Shouldn't this guy at least be arrested the next time he steps foot in the USA?  

Laurie Asplund
Laurie Asplund

As a friend of Megan and a fellow survivor, I know how difficult it is to tell the world what happened to you as you open yourself up for criticism and judgements from people who have no idea what you have been through.  Megan's courage and bravery in revealing her name and story will no doubt help many others who struggle with the shame and humiliation that all sexual abuse victims feel and will let them know that they are not alone.   That was the point of the whole thing...to help others and to try and keep her abuser from hurting others as evidenced by  her non-economic demands..  Too bad the Catholic Church doesn't have the same morals, the same values and the same dedication to protecting the children they claim to serve.  Instead, it is up to a 21 year-old girl who will try and do what the Catholic Church refuses to do - and that is to safeguard children she doesn't even know or will ever meet.  It appears that the Cathollic Church has become Megan's "Goliath" and we all know how that story ended.  Laurie Asplund   

David Clohessy
David Clohessy

Let’s hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Minnesota will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

MN_SNAP
MN_SNAP

Megan is a Hero !    Her actions exposed the Diocese of Crookston's corrupt, dishonest and deceitful cover-up and protection of this sicko priest. 

It is worse than shameful that the diocese hungup on Megan the 1st time she reached out for help and understanding.  

The parents and children of NW Minnesota have witnessed how to step out of the shadows of silence of rape and other sexual abuse crimes.  

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