To the Editor:
Any charges of child abuse are extremely hard and depressing to read about, but in the recent case of Father Leo Koppala of Blue Earth, there are three crucial "silver linings."
First and foremost, an 11-year old girl was so brave and thankfully found the courage to immediately tell a trusted adult what she allegedly experienced at the hands of Father Koppala. Secondly, the trusted adult was brave and smart enough to contact local law enforcement immediately. And third, the police and prosecutors moved quickly to arrest Father Koppala. There is no doubt in my mind that the actions listed above will serve to protect others and prevent future harm.
These actions are encouraging to me. As a girl who grew up in rural Minnesota, I was repeatedly molested by a Catholic priest. Sadly, in my situation, he managed to flee overseas to his native country of India. But my case and these new charges against Father Koppala show that times are changing and that sometimes, when victims speak up about such heinous crimes, their actions help to protect other children.
My hopes are that the people in the Blue Earth area will take time to feel their emotions, reach out to others and start a community conversation on protecting the vulnerable. Also, I hope that others who learn about or suspect child sex crimes, by anybody, will step forward, get help and contact their local police department.
Megan Peterson, co-leader
MN and NY Survivors Network
of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)