Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Priest held, three others to surrender in Kerala sexual assault case

Priest held, three others to surrender in Kerala sexual assault case

After pressure mounted on the police following the National Commission for Women monitoring the case, the four priests were charged with sexual assault.

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of three of the four Malankara Orthodox Church priests who have been accused of sexually abusing a woman parishioner. Days later, the Catholic church in Kerala was hit by a scandal with a senior nun accusing Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the head of the Latin diocese of Jalandhar of raping her and filed a case with the Kuravilangad police.

The Malankkara Syrian Orthodox Church priests have been accused of rape, based on the statement of a the woman who alleged that she was sexually abused by five priests. When she went to the parsonage to meet the priest, he allegedly abused her, " said a police officer.

However, instead of helping the woman, Father Mathew allegedly used her confession to sexually exploit her too. Forced into an illicit relationship once the man became a priest and even got married.

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Last week, the survivor's statement was recorded before a magistrate, where she reiterated that she was raped by the priests after threatening her using her confessional secret.

The Crime Branch was expected to arrest the three, and also a fourth priest, who is on the run.

In a scathing observation, while rejecting the bail pleas, the court yesterday said, "It appears that the applicants have acted as predators and have taken undue advantage of the position of the survivor. The reasonable possibility of accused to obstruct justice, can not be brushed aside".

Malankara Church priests trustee Fr M O John said the Church had taken disciplinary action against the priest following the allegation. According to reports, the accused priests, who are now absconding, have said that they were willing to surrender before the investigating team.

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