On Friday, Fr. John Praveen was sentenced to six years in the South Dakota State Penitentiary with the potential for parole after half of the time is served. Once Praveen is up for parole, he is expected to be deported back to India.
In a previous court appearance, Praveen admitted to touching the girl’s breasts over her clothing. However, State’s Attorney Mark Vargo took offense to the term “over the clothes”, because the girl was wearing a leotard under her sweater. Vargo said Praveen reached under the girl’s sweater.
In a plea agreement, both sides agreed to asked the court for a single year in local jail with credit for Praveen‘s 178 days he has already spent behind bars. The single year request with consent from the victim’s family, knowing that as soon as Praveen is done with his sentence he will be deported back to India.
Praveen still gets credit for his time served and will be up for parole in a little more than two and a half years.Then his case will be turned over to Homeland Security where he is expected to be deported during parole.
Making the matter worse was the time and place the attack occurred.
“The count he has pleaded guilty to occurred in the Cathedral, at a public Saint Padre Pio relic event. He had just finished Mass and was wearing his clerics,” she writes. “. . . He chose deliberately to pleasure himself, assaulting her.”
“I struggle to sleep due to so many memories of her descriptions of how she got away from him, ran and hid, only to have him hunt her down, finding her hiding spot and bringing her back for more,” the mom writes.
“Our son, who attempted to protect our daughter in the Cathedral basement that night, suffered guilt and a sense of helplessness,” the letter reads.