Rev. John Kakkuzkhiyil

Rev. John Kakkuzkhiyil

ORD — A Valley County jury will decide Thursday the fate of a Catholic priest who is charged with first-degree sexual assault.

The case against the Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil went to the jury at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Kakkuzhiyil, 63. is accused of sexually assaulting an Ord woman, who is now 34, on Nov. 22 and 23 of 2018. The sexual encounter allegedly occurred in the rectory of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

The trial began Monday in the courtroom of Valley County District Judge Karin Noakes.

Eight witnesses testified over the course of two and a half days.

The victim took the stand Tuesday, but Kakkuzhiyil never testified.

Before the case went to the jury Wednesday, the two alternate jurors (both women) were dismissed, leaving a panel consisting of nine women and three men.

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