Priest being investigated over sexual accusation

A Dunedin Catholic priest is being investigated over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Fr Fivins Chittilappilly had been an assistant priest in Mercy Parish South Dunedin since January 2020.

Following inquiries from the Otago Daily Times last week, Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley confirmed in a statement that a complaint had been received about Fr Chittilappilly.

The ODT understands the incident at the centre of the complaint, made by a woman, was sexual in nature.

Bishop Dooley said the complaint was being investigated by church authorities.

That included the National Office for Professional Standards.

Fr Chittilappilly left the parish late last year.

Bishop Dooley said once the complaint was received, church procedures began immediately.

"During this investigation, Fr Chittilappilly will remain in New Zealand but will not be working in ministry or residing in Dunedin Diocese," he said.

"I realise this is a stressful time and ask for your prayers for all involved at this time."

Fr Chittilappilly could not be reached for comment yesterday.







Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter