Catholic priest is hauled away by federal agents - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Catholic priest is hauled away by federal agents after sex charge sentencing


BLUE EARTH, Minn. (FOX 47) -- A Roman Catholic priest who has served in Blue Earth and Rochester is now in the process of being deported back to India after being sentenced Monday for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.

Two weeks ago, Father Leo Koppala pleaded guilty to Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Faribault County Court.

While serving at the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth last summer, Father Koppala was accused of touching and kissing the girl at her family's home.

Now--as part of his stayed 46-month prison sentence-- he'll have to register as a sex offender and has been ordered not to have any contact with girls under the age of 18.

"There were a half dozen or so parishioners in the courtroom during Father Koppala's sentencing," said Asst. Co. Attorney Lamar Piper.

Federal agents picked up Koppala at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing at the courthouse, and he's being deported back to India.

The Diocese of Winona said Koppala has been permanently removed from the Catholic priesthood.  In a statement emailed to reporters, the Diocese outlined that Bishop John Quinn has taken "extensive measures" to make sure that the Vatican and the Bishop of Nellore in India know of Koppala's conduct to appropriately deal with him upon his return to India. 

Prior to being assigned to the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth in 2009, Father Koppala had served at the Resurrection R.C. parish in Rochester.

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