Former Rochester priest admits molesting young girl
A Catholic priest who worked at a Rochester church a few years ago has pleaded guilty to molesting a young girl
in Blue Earth. Police in the southern Minnesota city were contacted last June by the grandmother of the 11 year old girl. The woman told officers she had invited Father Leo Koppala to her home for dinner and while she was on the telephone, the priest kissed and fondled the girl in the basement. After Koppala left, the girl told her grandmother what had happened. The 47 year old Koppala is a native of India and was ordained a priest in that country in 1994. He moved to the U.S. in September 2008 and was assigned to the Resurrection parish in Rochester. He worked there for about a year until he was transferred to the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Blue Earth. He was placed on leave by the Diocese of Winona after he was charged and currently has a Houston, Minnesota address. He entered an Alford plea to a 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct charge during a court appearance yesterday. That means he doesn't actually admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction had the case gone to trial. The diocese says it’s likely Koppala will be deported to India after he is sentenced March 31st.