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Accused Catholic priest’s associates in India trying to raise USD 100,000 for bail

New York, Nov 7 (IECurrentAffairs) Indian-origin priest Father John Praveen from Hyderabad remains in custody in the Pennington County Jail with bail set at $100,000 cash only. However it has been learned from the Deputy State Attorney that associates of Father John Praveen in India are trying to raise money to secure bail.

In court Tuesday Praveen’s attorney John Murphy asked that Praveen be released pending trial. 

Murphy told Seventh Circuit Judge Robert Mandel that Father Michel Mulloy of the Diocese of Rapid City would put Praveen under the supervision of the diocese at Casa Maria, a church property in Piedmont for retired priests. “Father John will be monitored,” Murphy said adding that no children are present at Casa Maria reported Kota TV.

Prosecutors objected and asked that bond remain at $100,000. 

Deputy State’s Attorney Kelsey Weber said that Praveen, who is from India, has scant ties to the community and presents a flight risk. 

Praveen was scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday but that was postponed because a translator could not be reached by phone. 

Praveen speaks Telugu, one of 22 languages spoken in India. Murphy told the court Praveen does not speak English fluently.

Praveen, who’s full name is John Praveen Kumar Itukulapati, was ordained in 2009 in India where he is from. 

He came to the Rapid City Diocese in November 2017 and originally served on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. He transferred down to the Rapid City Cathedral in the early summer of 2018.

He was arrested on Oct. 22 following a joint Rapid City Police and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office investigation. 

He is accused of having sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl on two occasions. 

Sexual contact with a child under 16 is a class 3 felony carrying a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a $60,000 fine.

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