Priest to Plead Guilty in Sex Case
Palathingal, Prosecutor Reach an Agreement

By Tom Heinen
Journal Sentinel Online
August 4, 2004

Father Simon Palathingal, a religious-order priest accused of sexually assaulting a boy in Milwaukee in the early 1990s, has reached an agreement to enter a guilty plea, a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney said in court Wednesday.

After Palathingal waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Commissioner Dennis Cimpl, Assistant District Attorney Gale Shelton told Cimpl that an agreement had been reached to resolve the case.

No details of the oral agreement were released, and action was not taken on it Wednesday because such guilty pleas must be made before a Circuit Court judge rather than a court commissioner. The plea is expected to be scheduled at an Aug. 17 appearance before Circuit Judge Karen Christenson.

Palathingal's accuser, Nick Janovsky, 23, told Cimpl in court that he supported the agreement.

Afterward, Janovsky expressed frustration that Palathingal had been able to continue in ministry in other states for years. That happened because a civil suit against the priest was dismissed after a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in the mid-1990s barred victims of child sexual abuse from suing the church, he said.

"After 10 years, we finally have an acceptable plea of guilt," Janovsky said outside the courtroom, accompanied by his mother and aunt. "I want to say thanks to the court system for finally bringing justice, because now there will finally be no more victims."

Palathingal, a native of India and a member of an international religious order known as the Salesians of Don Bosco, was charged with four counts of first-degree sexual assault. The criminal complaint says the assaults occurred at Jordan House, a home for retired priests at 4040 N. 66th St., where Palathingal lived while studying at Marquette University.

Palathingal was accused of engaging in sex acts with Janovsky from the summer of 1990 until about June 1991, when Janovsky was 9 and 10 years old.

According to the criminal complaint, Palathingal admitted the sex acts to a Milwaukee police detective after he was arrested in New Jersey in June on a warrant. "The defendant stated . . . that the boy was the aggressor 100% and he, the defendant, would give in," the complaint says.

That angered Janovsky, who said shortly after Palathingal's arrest, "It is such a malicious lie. . . . How the hell can a 9-year-old be an aggressor?"


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