By MaryAnn Spoto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on January 30, 2015
TOMS RIVER — A former priest at a Brick church was sentenced this morning to two years’ probation for groping a female parishioner.
Marukudiyil Velan, known to members of the Church of the Visitation as Father Chris, will also have to undergo counseling as part of the sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge James Blaney, who said the priest did not understand the gravity of his crime.
Convicted Oct. 16 of criminal sexual contact, Velan, 67, could have been sentenced to 18 months in prison. The judge, however, imposed a probationary sentence, as requested by his attorney.
“He has suffered immensely as a result of these charges,” his attorney, S. Karl Mohel, told Blaney. He said Velan’s health has suffered since he was charged, he’s had great expenses and he lost his job with the church.
Mohel said Velan has been living on meager Social Security disbursements and on charity.
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