Rapid City priest accused of sexual contact with a child pleads guilty, one count dropped

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City priest appeared in court Tuesday to change his plea to guilty after reaching an agreement with state prosecutors.

John Praveen, 38, answered, “yes” in his native language to the question of “did you have sexual contact” with a child under the age of 16.

A translator, present via speakerphone, dictated Tuesday’s hearing to Praveen.

Praveen was originally facing two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16 years of age, each offense punishable up to 15 years in jail and/or a $30,000 fine.

In exchange for a plea of guilty, count 1 against Praveen was dropped and count 2 will carry as stands. Praveen may also be ordered to pay restitution if the court finds it appropriate.

Count 1 refers to an offense occurring on Sept. 3 and the count 2 refers to an offense in Sept. 28.

Praveen is currently in the U.S. on a work permit but he status may change as a result of the plea.

Praveen is scheduled for sentencing on Apr. 4. His bond was exonerated due to there being no release plan because of the plea agreement.

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