Priest Gets Probation in Assault

By David Abel
Boston Globe
December 17, 2004

A 36-year-old Roman Catholic priest from India has admitted to improperly touching the chest of a 16-year-old girl while living and working at Our Lady of the Presentation Parish in Brighton, officials said yesterday.

As part of a plea agreement, Varghese Pereppadan admitted last week to charges of indecent assault and battery, said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office.

Pereppadan was sentenced to one year of probation, in which he cannot have contact with the victim or be in the presence of minors without supervision, Procopio said. If he returns home, the Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to notify his parish in India of the sentence.

If he does not violate the agreement, the charges will be dropped after a year, Procopio said.

"We determined that it was in her best interest to have this case resolved," Procopio said. "Certainly, it's a serious accusation. But he had no prior record, and this was a single incident, not a pattern of improper conduct."

In a statement about Pereppadan, who came to the United States to study in Cambridge, archdiocesan officials said they removed Pereppadan from his public ministry and the parish rectory as soon as they learned about the charges in August. They also said they immediately notified police.

"We are deeply saddened by Father Pereppadan's reprehensible actions toward a young person," the statement read. "It is appropriate that Father Pereppadan admitted to the facts of the complaint and apologized to the victim in court. We are grateful that this matter has been resolved in a way that is satisfactory to the victim and the victim's family."


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