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Priest Accused Of Sexual Contact With Minor

KELOLAND News is following a developing story out of Rapid City as a Catholic priest sits in jail. 

38-year-old Rev. John Praveen is facing two counts of sexual contact with a minor. According to court papers, Praveen is accused of two separate incidents. Both were in September with a 13-year-old.

Rapid City Police say the investigation started on Sunday when a victim came forward.

"Last evening I received a phone call from the pastor of the cathedral, informing me that one of the associate priests at the cathedral had received allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor against him," said Bishop Robert Gruss of the Diocese of Rapid City. "And so, it was the first indication that we have ever had regarding this individual priest."

According to a statement released by the diocese, Bishop Gruss removed Praveen "from all ministry in the Diocese." Gruss says kids are safe in the Diocese of Rapid City.

"Every child in our programs, they, too, go through safe environment training, so they're being taught how to recognize problems and situations as they arise so that they can feel, be confident, and be encouraged to report anything that they see that might seem a little out of line," Gruss said.

He says any adult who has access to kids in diocesan parishes or schools undergoes a background check as well as a safe environment training program.

"As a diocese we've done a very, a good job in helping protect our young people in our parishes and schools," Gruss said.

The statement from the bishop also says the diocese "is fully cooperating with law enforcement." 
He also encourages anybody who may have experienced something like this to reach out to authorities.
The statement says Praveen will make his first appearance in court on Wednesday. 

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