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OKC Catholic archdiocese adds name to list of credibly accused priests

Earlier coverage

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A priest from India who served briefly in Oklahoma City in 2001 as been added to the list of priests who have had "substantiated" child sexual abuse allegations made against them, the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Monday.

The Rev. Papa-Rao Pasala's name has been added to the list, the Oklahoma archdiocese announced Monday in a news release.

The archdiocese previously identified 11 other priests as having substantiated child sexual abuse complaints against them. Those priests were identified in a report released in October. Some of those priests have died and none of the others are still active in the ministry, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said.

The Oklahoma City archdiocese uses the word "substantiated" to describe complaints it has had investigated and deemed to have merit. Diane Clay, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City archdiocese, said it requires a higher standard of proof than the term "credibly accused." Neither term requires a criminal conviction.

Pasala, who served in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City for a month in 2001, was sent back to India in December that year after he admitted to what was described at the time as "inappropriate though not-yet criminal advances" with a 17-year-old girl, the archdiocese said.

Pasala's bishop in Nellore, India, was informed of the reason he was sent home at the time the action was taken, the Oklahoma City archdiocese said.

The allegation against Pasala resurfaced recently as Oklahoma City's McAfee & Taft law firm has continued to review files of child abuse allegations against priests within the archdiocese dating back to 1960, the news release said. The law firm prepared the previous 77-page report that identified 11 priests as having substantiated complaints against them.

Pasala had returned to the United States and was serving as a pastor in the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, when McAfee & Taft substantiated the old allegation against him using evidence that included an admission by the priest, the Oklahoma City archdiocese said.

The Diocese of Baker was informed of the findings and the bishop there removed him from the ministry on Dec. 6, the Oklahoma City archdiocese said. Pasala's bishop in India was notified and the priest was sent back to India to face disciplinary action.

Neither the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City nor the Diocese of Baker had received additional allegations of abuse involving Pasala, the local archdiocese said.

Reports of child sexual abuse should be made to local law enforcement officials or to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services at 800-522-3511. Reports of child sexual abuse by a priest within the Oklahoma City archdiocese also may be made to the archdiocese's victim assistance coordinator at 405-720-9878.

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<strong>[AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito]</strong>

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Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›

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