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Blue Earth Priest Pleads Guilty In Sex Abuse Case

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WINONA, Minn. (AP) — A Blue Earth-area priest has admitted to fondling a girl while attending dinner at her grandmother’s home.

The Rev. Leo Koppala pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim under 13. Sentencing is March 31.

The Diocese of Winona says the 47-year-old Koppala came to the diocese in 2008, and was assigned in 2009 to the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth and to St. Mary’s in Winnebago.

He was charged last June and placed on leave. The diocese says he’ll remain on leave until the court proceedings end. He’ll likely be deported to his native India.

Faribault County Attorney Troy Timmerman says under sentencing guidelines, Koppala faces a suspended prison sentence of 36 months and probation. Koppala’s attorney didn’t return a message.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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