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Telangana priest held in US for sexual abuse of minor

The New Indian Express logo The New Indian Express 04-10-2018 Syndigate.info

HYDERABAD: A Catholic priest from Telangana, preaching in Rapid City diocese in South Dakota state, was arrested in the United States for sexual contact with a minor. Thirty-eight-year-old John Praveen, also known as John Praveen Kumar Itukulapati, was arrested on Tuesday (Wednesday in India). He has been charged with two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16, a class 3 felony which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $30,000 on each count.

According to South Dakota-based Capital Journal, the Rev. John Praveen made a first appearance in court on Wednesday before a magistrate judge via interactive TV from the Pennington County jail in Rapid City. The judge kept his bond at $100,000 cash only and set Praveen’s preliminary hearing for October 18. The Rapid City Police Department, in a statement, said that their department and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) conducted a joint investigation on September 30 when a juvenile victim came forward to report the incidents.

The investigation revealed that Praveen made sexual contact with the child on two separate occasions.

As no other complaints have been received so far, the investigators have given out a contact number encouraging victims to come forward. The case was forwarded to the Pennington County State’s Attorney Office for prosecution.

Father Praveen earlier served with the Sanjeev Sadana Society (Holy Spirit Fathers) in Telangana. According to the Rapid City diocesan newsletter, Father Praveen was approved by his congregation to serve in South Dakota for ten years, beginning in November 2017. He is listed as a parochial vicar, who acts as an assistant to the pastor.

How did a Telangana priest end up in the US?

John Praveen Kumar Itukulapati had earlier served with the Sanjeev Sadana Society (Holy Spirit Fathers) in Telangana. According to the Rapid City diocesan newsletter, Father Praveen was approved by his congregation to serve in South Dakota for ten years, beginning in November 2017. He is listed as a parochial vicar, who acts as an assistant to the pastor.

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