(Vatican=Society of rapists?) Indian Priest in Fla. Assault Incident Turns Up in Italy

source:? AOL news, April 15, 2010

(April 15) — A priest who pleaded no contest in the assault of a
teenage girl in Florida and was sent back to his native India turns out
to be still on the job, this time at a diocese in Tuscany, Italy.


The case involving the Rev. Vijay Vhaskr Godugunuru — which the Vatican
was aware of — is one of many now coming under the microscope as
revelations of clerical sexual abuse continue to rock the Catholic
Church.

News of Godugunuru's reassignment came as a shock to
Jeffrey Anderson, one of the pre-eminent lawyers in the United States in
representing
people sexually abused by priests
. He represented the girl and her
family in a civil suit against the Pensacola-Tallahassee parish, which
settled in 2009 for an undisclosed amount.


Jeff Anderson

Craig Lassig, AP
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented a teenage girl
abused by the Rev. Vijay Vhaskr Godugunuru in a civil case, was shocked
to learn the priest is still on the job, working at a diocese in Italy.

"Two weeks ago we decided to check that some of these priests
were really where the church said they were, or if they had been
defrocked the way we were led to believe they had been," Anderson told
AOL News today. "And then we find out this guy has not been defrocked
and is in fact working at a parish in Italy with full access to kids.

"This
just underscores how stone-cold indifferent the Vatican is to the
children abused by priests."

Godugunuru pleaded no contest to
charges of assaulting the 15-year-old girl in 2006, while he was
assisting at the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Bonifay, Fla.

The
assault took place in her family's van, according to police and court
documents provided by Anderson and available on his Web site.

Godugunuru
was arrested on charges of lewd or lascivious battery on a minor and
could have faced up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Instead,
Godugunuru — who denied the accusation — made a plea deal under which
he pleaded no contest to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, and
agreed to return to his native India, undergo counseling, avoid working
with minors and never return to the U.S.

Not long after
Godugunuru molested her daughter, the girl's mother wrote to Pope
Benedict XVI about the incident, asking him for help. She never received
an answer, Anderson said.

But a few months later, the bishop of
the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese e-mailed the mother, saying he had
"been in direct contact with the Vatican concerning Fr. Vijay and are
gathering documents to be sent to them detailing the entire incident.

"The
documentation will include the report of the psychologist, the sheriff
and court documents," the e-mail stated. "They will be sent to the
Office in the Vatican which deals with priests who have been accused of
misconduct, especially when they involve minors. The Vatican office will
in turn do a complete examination of the data and make a final
disposition concerning the fitness of the priest to continue in the
ministry."

Anderson said he had assumed Godugunuru was back in
India and also believed the priest had been defrocked.

However,
Godugunuru was recently found to be ministering at a parish in a town of
about 4,000 in Tuscany, where he hears confessions, celebrates Mass and
works with children, according to The Associated Press.

"This is
the same thing that's been going on for 25 years," Anderson said. "The
Vatican just doesn't get it."

Monsignor Rodolfo Cetoloni,
Godugunuru's supervising bishop in the Montepulciano diocese, told the
AP he was aware of the case against Godugunuru in Florida, but said he
believed him to be innocent.

"The evidence that has been given
does not support the accusation," Cetoloni told the AP.

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