Jury Finds Catholic Priest Not Guilty Of Sexual Assault

ORD, Neb. (AP) – A central Nebraska jury has found a Roman Catholic priest not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in his Ord home on Thanksgiving 2018.

The Valley County jury deliberated a relative short time to conclude the 3-day trial of the Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil.

Kakkuzhiyil was arrested last January following a month-long investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol that began when the woman told police she blacked out after having several drinks with the priest, then awoke to find herself naked with him performing a sex act.

Father Kakkuzhiyil, who was the parish priest in Ord and Burwell at the time, said the sex was consensual. He went into rehab for alcohol dependency and depression shortly after Thanksgiving and was arrested soon after being released on Jan 2nd, 2019.

Grand Island Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt placed Kakkuzhiyil on administrative leave in mid-December 2018 after learning of the State Patrol investigation and the leave has remained in effect since then.

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