June 14, 2013
Letter to the Editor, intended for publication
Any charges of child sexual abuse are extremely hard and depressing to read about. But in the recent case of Fr. Leo Koppala, there are three crucial ‘silver linings.’
First and foremost, an eleven-year-old girl was so brave and thankfully found the courage to immediately tell a trusted adult what she experienced at the hands of Fr. Koppala. Secondly, the trusted adult was brave and smart enough to contact local law enforcement immediately. And third, the police and prosecutors moved quickly to arrest Fr. Koppala. There is no doubt in my mind that the actions listed above will serve to protect others and prevent further harm.
These actions are very encouraging to me. As a girl that grew up in rural Minnesota. I was repeatedly molested by a Catholic priest, Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul. Sadly, in my situation he managed to flee overseas to his native country of India. But my case and these new charges against Fr. Koppala, show that times are changing and that sometimes, when victims speak up about such heinous crimes, their actions help to protect other children.
My hopes are that the people in this area will take time to feel their emotions, reach out to others and start a community conversation on protecting the vulnerable. Also I hope that others who learn about or suspect child sex crimes, by anybody, will step forward, get help, and contact their local law enforcement agency.
MN and NY SNAP Co-Leader