Testimony underway in former Ord priest trial

Sandhills Express and KSNB

January 7, 2020

Ord NE – The trial for a priest accused of sexually assaulting an Ord woman last year is underway.

Fr. John Kakkuzhiyil, former pastor in Ord, is charged with first-degree sexual assault.

14 people, including two alternates, were chosen Monday to serve on the jury for the trial. The 14 include three men and 11 women.

Testimony began late Monday after jury selection.

Kakkuzhiyil was arrested in early January 2019 after a month-long investigation by the state patrol into a claim by an Ord woman who said the priest raped her at his home in late November. Court records indicate that the woman also claims Kakkuzhiyil gave her a couple of drinks beforehand, that she blacked out, and when she awoke she was naked and the priest was performing a sex act.

Kakkuzhiyil pled not guilty in Valley County District Court in Ord on February 18, 2019.

If found guilty on the felony sexual assault charge, Kakkuzhiyil could get up to 50 years in prison.

Up until late 2018, Kakkuzhiyil was a parish priest in Ord and Burwell.

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