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Woman who was repeatedly raped by Catholic priest at 14 recalls first time he assaulted her

A woman who was repeatedly raped by a Catholic priest when she was 14 years old has shared horrible details from the moment he assaulted her for the first time – and revealed that decades later, she still has PTSD from it.

Megan Peterson, now 33, came forward in 2011 and said she had been sexually assaulted by Indian priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, now 67, for more than a year in 2004 – when she was just 14 years old. 

At the time, he had been transferred from Infant Jesus Church in India to Blessed Sacrament Church, in Greenbush, Minnesota.

He was later arrested for sexually assaulting Megan and another minor, whose identity has remained hidden, but after spending less than a year in jail, he was reinstated by the church in India – something Megan said she ‘cannot comprehend.’

A woman who was repeatedly raped by a Catholic priest when she was 14 has shared details on the moment he assaulted her for the first time – and revealed she still has PTSD from it

Megan Peterson, now 33, came forward in 2011 and said she had been sexually assaulted by Indian priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul (pictured), now 67, back in 2004, when she was 14

Megan Peterson, now 33, came forward in 2011 and said she had been sexually assaulted by Indian priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul (pictured), now 67, back in 2004, when she was 14

At the time, he had been transferred from Infant Jesus Church in India to Blessed Sacrament Church (pictured), in Greenbush, Minnesota

At the time, he had been transferred from Infant Jesus Church in India to Blessed Sacrament Church (pictured), in Greenbush, Minnesota

Now, the 33-year-old has opened up about the traumatic abuse she experienced and how it still effects her today in a powerful new YouTube video

Now, the 33-year-old has opened up about the traumatic abuse she experienced and how it still effects her today in a powerful new YouTube video

Now, the 33-year-old has opened up about the traumatic abuse she experienced and how it still effects her today in a powerful interview with Real Women/Real Stories by Matan Uziel. 

Megan, who is currently living in New York, explained that it started when the priest asked her to come to his office so that he could give her a book. 

‘He asked me to go in to meet with him briefly to get a book and asked that I was seated on one of the love seats in his office,’ she said. 

‘So I took a seat and he went over to a book shelf and started looking through books. I heard the sound of a zipper but I was immediately embarrassed for him. I thought he accidentally had forgotten his zipper was down or something.

‘I just remembered thinking, “How embarrassing, I’m just not going to make eye contact,” and looked away.

‘My attention was brought back to him and he was already starting to undress himself and touch himself at that point and asking me to do the same thing. 

‘I remember saying no and that this was a sin, and being very confused. I had experienced sexual violence before in my life so at that point, I think I was in shock, but I knew his intentions were not good. He proceeded to force me to have oral sex with him and intercourse.’

Afterwards, Megan recalled wanting to get out of there as fast as she could, but not being able to move at the same time.

‘[Afterwards], I ended up laying on the floor. I remember him telling me, “Get yourself together, you have to go,”‘ she said.

‘I was scrambling and in shock and the smell of and feeling of his sweat on my body… I couldn’t get out of there fast enough but I couldn’t move.

‘It’s the weirdest combination and it’s very hard to explain. I ran to the school and I got in trouble because I was late. It was like I instantly lost my voice, I was instantly silent.’

Megan said it started when the priest asked her to come to his office so that he could give her a book. She recalled: 'I remember saying no and that this was a sin, and being very confused'

Megan said it started when the priest asked her to come to his office so that he could give her a book. She recalled: ‘I remember saying no and that this was a sin, and being very confused’

Megan said the abuse continued for nearly a year, and that the priest would often threaten her and her family members in an attempt to keep her from speaking about what happened

Megan said the abuse continued for nearly a year, and that the priest would often threaten her and her family members in an attempt to keep her from speaking about what happened

Eventually, Megan came forward and told her counselor about the abuse, which involved oral sex and intercourse. She then alerted the authorities

Eventually, Megan came forward and told her counselor about the abuse, which involved oral sex and intercourse. She then alerted the authorities

Megan admitted speaking out was an 'unbelievable weight' on her shoulders. 'It was very hard to try to understand all of those feelings and process everything that was going on,' she said

Megan admitted speaking out was an ‘unbelievable weight’ on her shoulders. ‘It was very hard to try to understand all of those feelings and process everything that was going on,’ she said

Megan said the abuse continued for nearly a year, and that the priest would often threaten her and her family members in an attempt to keep her from speaking out about what happened. 

‘I was so afraid of him… this man was making threats against my life. All I knew was that this man was capable of following through with it,’ she continued.

‘He was already seriously injuring me, I had no other evidence to suggest otherwise – to suggest he wouldn’t hurt me or go after one of my family members.’

Eventually, Megan came forward and told her counselor about the abuse, who alerted the authorities. And although speaking out about it was a big relief for Megan, she admitted it was also an ‘unbelievable weight’ on her shoulders.

She recalled: ‘When I spoke initially, my main concern was to make it stop in some way. I was nervous he was going to come back to hurt me or hurt other people.

‘I remember feeling really, like a pile after the first time I spoke. It was for a good purpose but I was a child and it was an unbelievable weight for a child to have.

‘There is a sense of relief that the proper authorities knew and that you did your part but then it’s there. It’s real, almost more real than before after people start knowing about it.

‘It was very hard, as a child, to try to understand all of those feelings and process everything that was going on.’ 

Joseph was arrested for sexually assaulting Megan and another minor in 2012, but after spending less than a year in jail, he was reinstated by the church in India

Joseph was arrested for sexually assaulting Megan and another minor in 2012, but after spending less than a year in jail, he was reinstated by the church in India

Joseph pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the other girl - whose identity has remained hidden - in a plea deal, in which the charges in his abuse of Megan were dropped

Joseph pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the other girl – whose identity has remained hidden – in a plea deal, in which the charges in his abuse of Megan were dropped

He was sentenced to a year in jail and was released in June 2015. In January 2016, his suspension was lifted and he went back to work at Infant Jesus Church in India (pictured)

He was sentenced to a year in jail and was released in June 2015. In January 2016, his suspension was lifted and he went back to work at Infant Jesus Church in India (pictured)

'It's hard for me to speak [about] why anyone in that institution would be so forgiving to an individual who rapes children,' said Megan. 'I can't comprehend how that's even a possibility'

‘It’s hard for me to speak [about] why anyone in that institution would be so forgiving to an individual who rapes children,’ said Megan. ‘I can’t comprehend how that’s even a possibility’

Joseph was arrested in 2012 for sexually assaulting Megan and another minor between 2004 and 2005.

He pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the other girl in a plea deal, in which the charges in his abuse of Megan were dropped, according to the New York Daily News. 

He was sentenced to a year in jail but was released and deported to India in June 2015 on account of time served while awaiting trial.

One year later, the priest was reinstated by the Indian church. In January of 2016, the Vatican lifted Jeyapaul’s suspension following a recommendation by an Indian bishop. 

‘It’s hard for me to speak with an absolute certainty on why the bishop or the pope or anyone in that institution would be so forgiving to an individual who rapes children,’ said Megan.

‘I can’t personally comprehend how that’s even a possibility, let alone, offering [him] promotions or moving [him] around or what not. In my mind, it is such a solid brotherhood and it’s beyond protecting the rapist, it’s protecting the institution.’

Megan also revealed that although she still suffers from PTSD today, it’s certainly gotten a lot better over the years. 

‘There was a point where I would lose touch with reality for hours on end and have body flashbacks and completely lose myself and think that I was back there,’ she explained.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk