Priest jailed, accused of fondling girl

The Diocese of Winona says a Blue Earth priest has been placed on administrative leave after he was charged with sexually assaulting a young girl.

Bishop John Quinn said in a statement that Rev. Leo Koppala is not allowed to minister in the Winona diocese while the investigation continues.

A criminal complaint filed in Faribault County accuses Koppala of fondling an 11-year-old girl last week at the home of her grandmother where he had been invited to dinner. The 47-year-old priest serves the Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth.

Koppala is currently in the Faribault County Jail. The public defender's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press says Koppala also raises funds for orphans in his native India through a website.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press

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