Priest Charged with Abusing Girl Still Working

Attorney Jeff Anderson points to a poster-size photo of Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul during a news conference April 5, 2010 in St. Paul, Minn. Anderson represents a teenage girl who was allegedly molested by a the Jeyapaul in 2006 when she was 14. Jeyapaul remains on the job in his home parish in India.
AP Photo/Jim Mone
Updated 4:48 p.m. ET

Vatican officials warned church officials in India to monitor a Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the United States, but four years later he continues to work in his home diocese.

In a 2006 letter to the bishop of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, Archbishop Angelo Amato wrote that the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul would be watched in his home diocese "so that he does not constitute a risk to minors and does not create scandal."

Amato was secretary to Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles all abuse cases.

But following the publication of an Associated Press story on Jeyapaul Monday, the Vatican said it has cooperated with U.S. law enforcement officials working to extradite him.

In a statement to AP, Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena says the Holy See had handed over the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul's address in India.

Jeyapaul told the AP on Monday that he is innocent and has no plans to return to the U.S. to face charges.

Lena says the Vatican had recommended Jeyapaul be defrocked, because it believed the charges were serious enough, but that his local bishop in India refused.

The bishop, the Most Rev. A. Almaraj of the diocese of Ootacamund, said he had disciplined Jeyapaul by sending him to a monastery for prayer.

Amato's letter is among evidence gathered by Jeff Anderson, the attorney for Jeyapaul's accuser.

Jeyapaul denies the charges and has no plans to return to the U.S. to face the courts. His current bishop says Jeyapaul has a paperwork job in his office and does not work with children.