Former Diocese of Winona Priest to Be Deported after Admitting to Fondling Girl

Winona Daily News
March 31, 2014

A former Diocese of Winona priest will be deported after admitting he fondled a girl while attending dinner at her grandmother’s home.

The Rev. Leo Koppala was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security after his sentencing Monday and will be held until his deportation proceedings, according to the diocese.

Online court records show Koppala was sentenced to 25 years of supervised probation and ordered to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty March 17 to second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim younger than 13. He fondled a girl while he was attending dinner at her grandmother’s home, according to court records.

The 47-year-old Koppala was assigned in 2009 to the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth and to St. Mary’s in Winnebago. He did not serve in the Winona area.

The diocese said Koppala will likely be deported to his native India.

“Koppala has been permanently removed from priestly ministry in the Diocese of Winona and all employment relationships terminated,” the diocese said in a statement.

The diocese has submitted a report to the Vatican, which will work with with a diocese in India in deciding Koppala’s future.

Bishop John Quinn “has taken extensive measures” to ensure both are fully aware of Koppala’s criminal conduct, “so that appropriate measures can be taken upon his return to India,” the statement said.








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