Koppala is sentenced
Nearly nine months after being arrested for allegedly inappropriately touching a child, Father Leo Charles Koppala, 47, was sentenced in Faribault County District Court last Monday.
Koppala was serving as a priest for Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth and has been convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“If he violates the terms of his probation he could go to prison for a total of 36 months,” Timmerman says. “His probationary term is 0 to 25 years.”
Koppala has a 36-month prison sentence hanging over his head, according to county attorney Troy Timmerman.
Conditions for Koppala’s probation include: not having any contact with females under the age of 18, registering as a predatory offender and complying with a psychosexual evaluation and following the recommended treatment or therapy options given.
Koppala also received a 10-year conditional release term; in the event Koppala violates the terms of probation and goes to prison and serves his sentence, he still won’t be done, according to Timmerman.
“The Department of Corrections will continue to supervise him for 10 years and can revoke his conditional release and place him back into prison,” Timmerman explains.
The sentence was pursuant to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Grid.
Koppala’s attorney, Philip J. Elbert, wanted to clarify with Judge Richards if his client would be getting back his passport and the seized property, which the State took.
“His passport will be available to him,” Judge Richards responded.
However, according to Timmerman, the seized property cannot be released to Koppala at this time.
“The State would ask for authorization for Koppala’s property before it can be released to Elbert,” Timmerman says.
Following Timmerman’s statement, Koppala gave authorization to let Elbert collect his property after the appeal process.
Koppala was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), following his release from Faribault County last Monday, according to ICE Public Affairs officer Shawn Neudauer.
“Due to his criminal conviction, Koppala will remain in ICE custody pending the outcome of his immigration proceedings,” Neudauer adds.
Currently, Koppala is in jail on an immigration hold in Albert Lea, according to his attorney Philip J. Elbert.
Timmerman is glad everyone can just move forward.
“I am glad the case is over,” he says. “It is good that we can all put this matter behind us and move on.”