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Priest jailed on accusations of fondling girl

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BLUE EARTH, Minn. (AP) — 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.

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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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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