Indian Catholic priest arrested in US for sexual abuse

Rapid City: A Catholic priest from India was arrested on October 2 in Rapid City in South Dakota state of the United States.

Police officials said Father John Praveen was arrested on suspicion that he had sexual contact with a child.

The 38-year-old priest was taken into custody after a joint investigation by Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, law officers said in a news release.

The law officers said they expect the Pennington County state’s attorney to file two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16, a Class 3 felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Father was on temporary duty in the Rapid City Catholic diocese. He uses the name “John Praveen Kumar Itukulapti,” police said.

On September 30, a “juvenile victim came forward to report the incidents,” according to the news release from law enforcement. “The investigation revealed that Praveen made sexual contact with the child on two separate occasions.”

Capt. Corey Brubakken of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said in the same news release: “This is obviously an ongoing, high-priority investigation. If there is anybody out there that may have information relevant to this investigation, we would encourage them to contact investigator Jesse Fagerland at 394-6115.”

A news release from the diocese said the priest is a member of the Holy Spirit Fathers of India. He has been serving the diocese since November 2017.

“The diocese learned of this allegation from the Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office on Monday [October 1] evening. The Diocese of Rapid City is fully cooperating with law enforcement in this ongoing investigation. Fr. Praveen has been arrested and will make his first court appearance tomorrow [October 3}. Bishop Robert Gruss has also removed him from all ministry in the Diocese of Rapid City,” said the release issued on October 2.

After arriving from India nearly, Praveen served as priest at All Saints parish in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation until June when he was assigned as assistant pastor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City, where Bishop Robert Gruss has sat as spiritual pastor of the diocese since 2011.

The diocese includes all of West River region of South Dakota, about 32,000 members in 80 parishes — including St. John the Evangelist in Fort Pierre — served by about 40 priests.

The decreasing number of priests over the past 50 years — the number has been cut in half — means the diocese has brought in priests from other countries to help, diocesan officials say. There are three priests in the diocese from Poland, for example; and Praveen and another priest from India.

In diocesan newsletters, Church officials regularly run notices with information about the diocese’s office for victims of sexual abuse.

The news release from the diocese included: “We encourage anyone who believes they might have had a similar experience to contact the authorities or the Victims Assistance Coordinator (605-209-3418). Our prayers and concerns go out to the young person and the family, and all those who have suffered from any type of abuse.”


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4 thoughts on “Indian Catholic priest arrested in US for sexual abuse

  1. What are the Vatican officials doing? It is high time for them to wake up from their “pretended” deep sleep and see that sex scandals by INDIAN CLERGY (wherever they are and whichever country they work) are ever on the increase. Inaction or delayed action by the church authorities means that they are worried about the QUANTITY and NOT the QUALITY of the clergy. “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  2. A member of the ‘Holy Spirit Fathers’, found to be doing unholy acts. What a shame. This is only symptom of the chronic sickness the Church is suffering from. Let’s pray for healing.

  3. Holy Spirit father of India? Where is he from? Is he a member of any consecrated life?
    Usually hearing ‘a priest’ readers presume any one diocesan priest from any one diocese in India!!! and people simply stone at the local catholic priest…. telling your specious done it…
    People don’t know the the nun’s confession in India is generally heard by this consecrated religious priests… Because of its secrecy general Catholics don’t know the mess behind it…. I consider recent issues on challenging confession came from nuns to the feminists cells because of disordered way of officiating sacrament of penance in convents where women only lives…In the closed convents and training house’s of nuns consecrated priests have all chance of abuse….
    It is sheer negligence of the nun-superior’s selection other than the local catholic diocesan parish priests for their confessions. As confession has nothing to do other than defeating the power of devil’s work…
    The net result is, priests in general are turnished and centuries old practice of sacrament of penance is challanged in India with the support of the nun feminists… Ashamed to be seen them in streets…now…
    It is hard to find out the sheep and the wolf…unless responsible bishops active role in their own pastoral field… And the conferences of the bishops start their duties normally to stand for church and Christ..

    All priests are not consecrated religious priests
    Diocesan priests are not consecrated religious priests
    Diocesan priests are mostly restricted to its own territory in 1 or 2 or maximum 10 districts.. Their area of movement is known to all the people of the diocese. And people know them personally as they hail from local families… Unlike consecrated religious priests transferred from country to country when issues occurs.. Their profile cannot be easily traced or to put in public audit…
    This said priest will be safely moving in after the case in any other country like in Africa. It is transfer system in religious consecrated life… When question arise they spiritualise it and tell our apostolate is spreading all over the world… Harvest is more labourers are less… This is the kind of labourers of the consecrated religious life without any limit free to move without any restrictions other than the visa rules…

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