New trial date for priest accused of sex assault on woman

February 26, 2019

ORD, Neb. (AP) — A new trial date has been set for a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a woman in central Nebraska.

Valley County District Court records say without explanation that the new date is June 24 for the Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil (kah-kuh-ree-AL’). He’s pleaded not guilty to a charge of forcible sexual assault. His trial was set to begin May 6.

The woman who accused him has obtained a protection order against the cleric. She says he assaulted her in November when she went to his Ord home on business. She says she blacked out after having a couple of drinks with him.

The Grand Island Diocese says Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt placed Kakkuzhiyil on leave Dec. 15 upon learning that the Nebraska State Patrol was investigating the allegations.