The Star Tribune reported that a Roman Catholic priest from India accused of raping a 15-year-old girl while serving in Minnesota reversed his stance Tuesday and said that he won't challenge an extradition order that has been issued in Roseau County.
The Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, who served in the Diocese of Crookston in 2004 and 2005, faces charges of first-degree sexual conduct, and if convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, they reported.
In an interview with Roseau County Attorney Lisa Hanson, the Star Tribune reported, that even with him dropping his challenge, Hanson said, "I'm being told by legal officials in India that this could take three to four years."
When contacted by reporters in India, Jeyapaul told the New York Times that he volunteered to cooperate with the extradition, but the Times of India reported that the country's top Roman Catholic officials ordered him to do so, they reported.
The Pionner Press reported that Jeyapaul, who has denied the accusations and claims they were an attempt to get money from the church, was one of many foreign priests brought to help fill shortages in U.S. parishes.
Last year, about one-quarter of the newly ordained priests in the United States were foreign-born, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, they reported.