and the Jeyapaul Case
In 2004, the Rev. Jeyapaul Joseph Palanivel was accepted by the
U.S. Diocese of Crookston in Minnesota for parish work. The arrangement
had been proposed for Jeyapaul, as the priest is usually known,
by his home diocese of Ootacamund in the state of Tamil Nadu in
southern India. Jeyapaul was in Crookston for less than a year,
but in that brief time, he is accused of sexually abusing two female
minors, is suspected of abusing at least one other girl, and is
now the subject of a police investigation and a civil suit. Jeyapaul
is also accused of taking money from the Crookston diocese.
Crookston bishop Victor Balke wrote repeatedly to the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, urging it to take the Jeyapaul case,
and even appealed to the dicastery in person. Yet as of April 5,
2010, over five years after he allegedly committed the crimes, Jeyapaul
is a senior official in the Diocese of Ootacamund, with the schools
as one of his portfolios, and the CDF has ignored the case.
This page provides documents that were obtained by counsel for
the plaintiff in the civil suit, Jane Doe 121 v. the Diocese of
Crookston. At a time when the role of the Vatican bureaucracy in
abuse cases is coming under increased scrutiny, the Jeyapaul documents
show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though
the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused.
At a time when foreign priests are being used to patch a U.S. priest
shortage, the Jeyapaul documents cast doubt on the formation of
such priests, and on the system's ability to monitor and discipline
Below we provide a timeline of the Jeyapaul case with links to dozens
of documents. The paper trail of neglect by Cardinal Levada at the CDF
is contained in five documents: Bishop
Balke's original 2005 request, the CDF's
inadequate response, and then Balke's increasingly urgent letters,
as the case worsened in his own diocese: see the letters he wrote in November
2006, and March
Vatican, CDF, and Cardinal Levada's involvement
to the present in sexual abuse allegations
against Father Joseph Jeyapaul
||Father Joseph Jeyapaul ordained
in the Diocese of Ootacamund, India.
||Father Jeyapaul had various parish assignments
at schools and churches in India within the Diocese of Ootacamund
||Father Jeyapaul came
to work in the Diocese of Crookston in Minnesota,
||Diocese of Crookston received allegations that Father Jeyapaul engaged
in sexual misconduct with a minor
|| Jeyapaul left the United States and returned to India
with parishioner F-1, and reveals information that he learned from
Girl 1 during confession
||Bishop Victor Balke signed a decree
stating that there is information that Father Jeyapaul "engaged
in sexual misconduct with a minor."
||Bishop Balke wrote
to Jeyapaul's superiors in India about the allegation against
Jeyapaul (see also the reply)
||Msgr. Antony Swamy (now Vicar General), the administrator of the
Diocese of Ootacamund at the time, wrote
to Bishop Balke that he received Balke's letter.
||Bishop Balke again wrote to Msgr. Swamy that the civil
authorities in Minnesota were looking into criminal charges against
||Msgr. Swamy wrote
to Bishop Balke stating that he had sternly warned Jeyapaul of any
further mischief or such allegations in the future. (page 2 missing)
||Bishop Balke determined that the allegations against Jeyapaul must
be referred to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith (CDF) in accordance with the Vatican's 2001 Sacramentorum
||FIRST LETTER TO CDF - Bishop Balke
wrote to Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Vatican's Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith. Balke wrote that Jeyapaul took a sixteen
year old girl to his rectory in the Diocese of Crookston and "kissed
her repeatedly, pulling her on top of him and at one point touching
her beneath her clothing .... there were other incidents of similar
behavior between Fr. Jeyapaul and [the sixteen year old girl]."
The abuse happened between 2004 and 2005. Bishop Balke also stated
that "because of the recent date of the alleged misconduct, it
is impossible to say that Father Jeyapaul does not at present pose
a risk to minors." Balke also asked the CDF to take the matter
and penalize Jeyapaul as it sees fit. (Ex. 60)
|5 Months After Bishop Balke's Letter to the
||Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary at the CDF, wrote
back to Bishop Balke that the CDF had gotten the information on
Jeyapaul. The CDF stated that it examined the situation and communicated
the facts to Jeyapaul's Bishop "with the request that Father
Jeyapaul's priestly life be monitored so that he does not constitute
a risk to minors and does not create scandal."
||Diocese of Crookston received allegations
that Jeyapaul had sexually molested a second girl, Jane Doe 121
(she is "Girl 2" in our redactions of the documents)
||SECOND LETTER TO CDF - Bishop Balke wrote to Cardinal
Levada, the Vatican's head of the CDF, that
Jeyapaul had been accused of sexually molesting a second girl.
In the letter Balke told Levada that the allegations were that "Fr.
Jeyapaul had 'rubbed up against her' in the rectory at Middle River,
in the confessional at Middle River, and then fondled her breasts,
exposed himself to her, and forced his penis into her mouth."
Balke wrote that "it is impossible to say that Father Jeyapaul
does not at present pose a risk to minors." Balke wrote that
due to this second allegation possibly a more severe penalty was necessitated.
||MEETING WITH CDF - Bishop Balke met with the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith to present the file on Father Jeyapaul.
||THIRD LETTER TO CDF - Bishop Balke wrote to Cardinal
Levada and stated that law
enforcement was going to pursue extradition of Father Jeyapaul
in light of the most recent allegations. Balke asked for information
about Jeyapaul's whereabouts and also for a speedy resolution.
||The Vatican's apostolic nuncio wrote to Bishop Balke that Jeyapaul's
current residence was at St. Joseph's church in Kalhatti, India.
The nuncio's enclosure
shows that he had corresponded about the Jeyapaul case with the then-apostolic
nuncio of India, Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, now the nuncio
||FOURTH LETTER TO CDF - Bishop Balke wrote to Cardinal
Levada at the Vatican's CDF and enclosed emails
suggesting that Jeyapaul violated the sacramental seal of confession
and that the information should be included in the CDF's file on Jeyapaul.
||A criminal complaint is filed in Roseau County District
Court alleging oral penetration of Girl 2 by Jeyapaul, who is also
alleged to have threatened her and her family.
||Fr. Jeyapaul wrote to a parishioner in the Diocese of Crookston
and the letter was passed along to the Diocese of Crookston. The letter
stated that Jeyapaul
is currently the secretary for the Diocesan Commission for Education
in the Diocese of Ootacamund, India. He stated that they have
40 schools in the diocese. He also requested money so that he can
have toilets built for the children at the schools. Finally, Jeyapaul
wrote that a Jubilee Mass (25 years in priesthood) was celebrated
||Balke wrote to the Vatican's apostolic nuncio in Washington to
verify that Jeyapaul's current address is Bishop's House in Ootacamund.
||Archbishop Sambi, the Vatican's Apostolic Nuncio, wrote back to
Bishop Balke that he didn't have a current address for Jeyapaul, but
Balke could write to Jeyapaul's Bishop in India.
||Jane Doe 121 v. Diocese of Crookston complaint
||Bishop Balke testified that he
didn't recall any response from or action taken by the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith or the Holy See in response to his
letters to Cardinal Levada. (Balke deposition pp. 80-81)
||Diocese of Ootacamund News
Bulletin dated March 2010 listed Jeyapaul as secretary of the
Education Commission and stated that the Education Committee visited
St. Ignatius' Hr. Sec. School and the Primary School at Budapadi,
India. (Ex. 100) The News Bulletin is published monthly; we have cached
copy of the March 2010 issue. Jeyapaul's position as secretary
of the Education Commission is stated on the diocesan
curia page. We have cached a
copy of the curia page as it appeared on 4/5/10. See also PDFs
of the March 2010 News
Bulletin and curia
page. Jeyapaul is listed
at Bishop's House (see also a
cached copy of the clergy list).
Note: BishopAccountability.org has revised and expanded this timeline
from the case file, adding links to the documents in the file.