- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A Catholic priest has been sentenced to two years of probation for groping a woman more than two years ago.

The Rev. Marukudiyil Velan, known to his congregation as “Father Chris,” was convicted in October 2014 of criminal sexual contact against the woman, but was acquitted of sexual assault charges involving the woman’s two children.

The 67-year-old priest told a judge Friday that he couldn’t bear any more of the pain and “didn’t do anything wrong.” His attorney, S. Karl Mohel, says Velan lost his job and wants to return to his home country of India.

The woman and her son testified that Velan groped them in July 2012 and then went out for pizza. Mohel says the family lied to collect money in a lawsuit.


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