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Man housing priest charged with sex crime upsets neighbors

December 21, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A man who has agreed to take in a former Rapid City priest accused of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl says some of his neighbors are upset about the situation.

John Praveen, 38, was released from jail Thursday afternoon after someone paid for his recently reduced $10,000 cash-only bond, the Rapid City Journal reported. Brad Blauvelt, who volunteered to house Praveen, said the woman who paid the bond asked to remain anonymous.

Blauvelt says he may ask to take a leave of absence from his job as a network administrator for Rapid City Area Schools so he can stay home and supervise Praveen at all times. He said while some of his neighbors along his rural stretch of road are fine with the diea, others are “over-the-top angry.”

“I think at this point I’m committed (to housing Praveen), but I have to do something to calm the neighbors down,” Blauvelt said.

Praveen was charged Oct. 2 and accused of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl above the clothes during two separate incidents. He had worked at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help cathedral in Rapid City since June. He has been suspended from duties.

As part of his conditions of release, Praveen must wear an ankle monitor, not contact his alleged victim and her family, and stay at the Blauvelt’s home. He must obtain permission from the court to leave the house unless he is going to the doctor or his lawyer’s office

Judge Robert Mandel agreed to lower Praveen’s original $100,000 cash-only bond to $10,000 during a motions hearing Wednesday at the state courthouse. John Murphy, Praveen’s defense lawyer, had argued that the original bond was higher than that of non-priests accused of similar crimes.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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