Important Notice Regarding Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul Palanivel Litigation:
Reverend Joseph Jeyapaul Palanivel, known to us as “Fr. Jeyapaul,” is a priest of the Diocese of
With the permission and recommendation of his bishop, Fr. Jeyapaul came to the Diocese of Crookston
in September of 2004. Upon his arrival Fr. Jeyapaul was in residence at the rectory of St. Bernard’s
Catholic Church, Thief River Falls, MN, where he was to acclimate to the Diocese of Crookston and
assist the parish priest with his regular duties.
In November 2004, Fr. Jeyapaul was appointed administrator of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church of
Greenbush, St. Joseph Catholic Church of Middle River and St. Edward Catholic Church of Karlstad. He
remained in this assignment until September 15, 2005, a period of ten and a half months.
On August 25, 2005, the Diocese of Crookston received a complaint against Fr. Jeyapaul alleging
inappropriate behavior with a teenage girl. After investigation, the Diocese of Crookston concluded that
it was possible that Fr. Jeyapaul violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Code of Ethical Behavior
of the Diocese of Crookston.
On September 15, 2005, twenty one days after the Diocese of Crookston received notice of a possible
allegation of sexual misconduct, Fr. Jeyapaul’s assignment was revoked and he was informed of the
accusations against him. At this time, Fr. Jeyapaul was in India, and has not returned to the Diocese of
On October 4, 2006, the Diocese of Crookston received a second complaint against Fr. Jeyapaul related
to his assignment in 2004. The Diocese of Crookston began an investigation, which was suspended on
October 18, 2006 when counsel for the complainant asked the Diocese of Crookston to refrain from
contact with the complainant. At this same time, the Diocese of Crookston was given notice of legal
action to be taken against it.
The Diocese of Crookston was sued based on a claim of negligent hiring, supervision and retention of an
employee. During the discovery phase of the lawsuit the Diocese of Crookston learned of the serious
nature of the allegations against Fr. Jeyapaul. These allegations related to sexual abuse of a minor
woman, including multiple occasions of sexual assault. The plaintiff and the Diocese of Crookston
agreed to terms of settlement on July 13, 2011, prior to the trial.
Criminal charges are still pending against Fr. Jeyapaul in Roseau County, Minnesota.
Posting Fr. Jeyppaul’s photograph on our website so that other potential victims can recognize him was
one of the terms of the settlement agreement. Click here to view his photograph and obtain contact
information to report sexual abuse.