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Authorities find porn, not child porn

July 17, 2013
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - Prosecutors revealed in court Tuesday that numerous files found locked on the computer found in Father Leo Charles Koppala's apartment contain pornographic videos.

Koppala, who was serving as the priest for Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth, has been charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, stemming from an incident June 7 in which he allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with a child under 13 years of age. It is alleged that Koppala, 47, fondled the child while visiting a home where the child was staying.

On July 8, prosecutor Troy Timmerman told Judge Douglas Richards that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension had unlocked numerous files on the computer after Koppala's arrest.

On Tuesday, Timmerman said local law enforcement officers went to the bureau's office last week, quickly scanned the files and marked the ones they wanted the bureau to copy to DVDs. Timmerman said law enforcement officers received the copied files just before court convened Tuesday.

From what they've seen so far, there's "no evidence of violations in our jurisdiction," said LaMar Piper, Assistant Faribault County Attorney.

Authorities found 10 to 15 pornographic videos, one homemade video, 10 to 20 videos with outside cover art that was pornographic, and three clip-art posters.

"These materials were either pornographic or sexual in nature," Piper said.

Timmerman confirmed that none of the material viewed so far included minors.

Timmerman told the judge the prosecution also has requested that Verizon Wireless unlock a CD that contained text messages sent by Koppala.

Philip Elbert, defense attorney, previously stated he wanted to contest the search warrant used by the prosecution, and Richards asked if he still wanted to.

"We'd like a continuance at this time," replied Elbert, adding that he wants time to review the new evidence.

Elbert said the acts on the videos involved adult women and gave no indication of interest in minors. He chastised prosecutors, saying an interest in women does not mean an interest in children.

Richards reminded Koppala he has a right to schedule his next hearing within 28 days, part of the speedy proceedings process. Richards then asked if Koppala wants the next hearing in less than 28 days or if he approved an extension. Koppala agreed to the extention, but Richards did not set a new court date.

 
 

 

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