A big question is agitating many NRI minds in the U.S. currently – Is Andhra Pradesh native Leo Koppala of Blue Earth (Minnesota) a sex monster or a good Catholic tending to his flock.
The definitive answer to the above question will not come easily and will take several months at the least.
After spending several weeks in a county jail over charges of criminal sexual misconduct with a minor, pastor Leo Koppala was released on bail on July 8, 2013 on a $75,000.00 bond.
Who is Leo Koppala?
Leo Koppala is a native of Nellore, a district in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
For those unfamiliar with India, Andhra Pradesh is famous for three things:
* Dum Biryani, a rice delicacy over which legal battles are being fought in the U.S.
* Tollywood, the repository for horrible movies made in the Telugu language and a fascination for fair-skinned heroines.
* Software programmers, and their mass export to the U.S.
Until his recent legal troubles, Fr. Koppala was the Pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Church, in Blue Earth, Minnesota.
Blue Earth is a small town in Faribault County, Minnesota with a population of 3,353.
Leo Koppala – Essential Facts
April 19, 1966 – Leo Koppala is born
October 2008 – Leo Koppala comes to the U.S.
October 2008 – July 31, 2009 – Koppala works at Resurrection R.C. parish in Rochester
2009-2013 – Koppala is Pastor of St. Peter and Paul Church in Blue Earth, MN
2013 – Koppala professes commitment to helping the education of poor and orphan children in India and solicits monthly donation of $40
June 7, 2013 – Date of Koppala’s alleged sex crime in Blue Earth, MN
June 8, 2013 – Koppala arrested and lodged in Faribault County Jail
June 10, 2013 – Leo Koppala’s first court appearance
July 8, 2013 – Released on $75,000 bail from Faribault County Jail
Guilty or Innocent?
Leo Charles Koppala’s guilt or innocence on the criminal sexual conduct charges with a minor that he is accused of in Minnesota will ultimately be established in a court of law.
And like all those charged with crimes, Leo Charles Koppala is presumed innocent until and if he’s found guilty in a court of law.
What is clear though is that the Andhra Pradesh native Leo Koppala now finds himself in a big legal soup.
If Koppala is found guilty, he faces up to 25 years in prison, a $35,000 fine or both.
Leo Koppala’s nightmare started on June 7, 2013.
For that is the day 47-year-old Leo Koppala is alleged to have engaged in criminal sexual conduct with a 11-year-old girl “CJS” in Blue Earth, Minnesota.
According to the complaint, Koppala was invited to dinner by a local “Grandmother.”
The names of the grandmother and the 11-year-old girl have not been disclosed.
The complaint alleges that when the grandmother was on the phone Koppala kissed the young girl on the cheek and lips, touched her breasts, told the girl he loved her and would come to her house after she was done with school so that they could be free together.
No Breasts, Only Kissing
When interviewed by Police Chief Tom Fletcher, Koppala denied touching the girl’s breasts but is said to have agreed to kissing her on the cheeks and mouth.
Here’s the excerpt from the complaint:
Chief Tom Fletcher then interviewed Koppala. Koppala admitted that he had supper with CJS and her grandmother. He admitted that when the grandmother was on the phone he went downstairs to where CJS was. He agreed that he had kissed her on the cheeks and mouth. He admitted to placing his hand on her chest but did not believe he touched her breasts. Koppala admitted that he told CJS that they could be free together but explained that he meant something different.
Although Koppala has been released on bail, some conditions have been attached to the bail.
Under the terms of the bail, Koppala must not have any contact with the victim or her family, and no contact with any minor females.
Also, Koppala must not leave Minnesota and remain law-abiding.
Koppala’s passport has been taken by the authorities to prevent any possibility of flight.
Koppala on Leave
Meanwhile, the Winona diocese in Minnesota has placed Koppala on administrative leave following charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.
While on administrative leave, Koppala will not be permitted to exercise his public ministry or live on any parish property in the Diocese of Winona pending the outcome of the investigation.
According to the Diocese of Winona, no other allegation of this nature involving Rev. Koppala has been received by the Diocese.