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NE Priest Pleads Not Guilty To Rape

ORD, Neb. (AP) – A May trial has been scheduled for a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a woman in central Nebraska.  Valley County District Court records say the Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil entered a written plea of not guilty Monday to a charge of forcible sexual assault.  His trial is 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.

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