Kerala church sex scandal: God’s own country rocked by sexual allegations against Kerala priests

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In the past few weeks, alleged sexual exploitation by church priests has rocked Kerala. In a case which revealed the dark side of the religious institution, a 46-year-old nun has claimed that she was sexually abused by Bishop Franco Mullackal of the Jalandhar diocese of Roman Catholic Church.

She alleged that the Bishop threatened her and sexually used her between 2014 and 2016. The rape survivor later approached the police after the Bishop had accused her along with five others for blackmailing him. Later, the Bishop was booked for his actions against the nuns of the church. The case doesn’t end here. In the latest development, a case has been filed against a priest for allegedly trying to influence a key witness in the rape case. He also allegedly offered her land safety and building in return of scrapping the police complaint against the Bishop. He has now been reportedly been asked to step down from his post.

What we know so far about the case:

  • The 46-year-old nun in her complaint said that Bishop Franco Mullackal had raped her on multiple occasion at a small town near Kottayam in Kerala between 2014 and 2016.
  • According to her complaint, she was abused on 13 different occasions — the first time was in 2014 at a guest house near an orphanage in Kuravilangad region. Quoting the police, PTI reported that the nun only approached the police after the church failed to act in her favour.
  • After the nun filed police complaint the Bishop claimed that he was innocent and was being accused by the nuns for taking disciplinary action against the nun. The Bishop Franco Mullackal also accused her along with five others for blackmailing him.
  • An investigation was launched in view of both the complaints. The probe team, which went through the statements given to it and a magistrate by the nun, feels that there was “merit” in the nun’s complaint to interrogate the bishop, police said. Meanwhile, sources close to the nun told PTI that the nun had written to Pope Francis on 14 May alleging that she was “sexually abused and harassed” by the Bishop, the sources said.
  • Later, an audio clip was leaked of the alleged phone call to a nun who stood by the rape survivor. The priest, acting as a mediator, made a phone call offering, “land, building, and safety” if she withdrew her rape complaint against Bishop Franco Mullackal.
  • According to reports the leaked phone call sees one priest named Father James Erthayil of the Kanjirappallly diocese of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate introducing himself to the 30-year-old nun Sister Anupama (who was one of the five nuns who came out in support of a 44-year-old nun) who has supported the survivor and saying, “We can buy some land, build a convent and shift you all there safely. This won’t happen tomorrow but everything has a time. We can think about it.”
  • After the clip was leaked the Father James Erthayil of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Congregation has been asked to step down after an audio clip of his conversation with a nun went viral.

This is not the only rape case against Kerala priests:

Another such dark side of churches came to where four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church are facing charges of blackmailing and sexually abusing a woman. Abraham Varghese, Job Mathew of Niranam diocese, Johnson V Mathew of Thumpamon diocese, and Jaise K George of Delhi diocese have been booked for rape based on the victim’s complaint and a probe is underway.

The arrests were made after a man from Pathanamthitta district in Kerala accused five priests of the Church of using his wife’s secret confession to blackmail and sexually abuse her. The investigation in the case has been handed over to crime branch by state police. The victim is currently staying with her parents and has provided the Crime Branch with a formal statement alleging rape charges against the priests.Advertisement

Another case rape case was registered against a priest belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Accused is identified as Father Binu George (44), who allegedly raped a married woman in 2014 when he was her parish priest under Mavalikkara diocese of the Church. According to The Indian Express, the woman said in her complaint that the priest was transferred to another parish when the issue was taken up with the church authorities. However, according to her, he allegedly continued to send lewd messages to her, which made her approach the police.

Source: Kerala church sex scandal: God’s own country rocked by sexual allegations against Kerala priests (freepressjournal.in)

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