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Crime Branch to Probe Sexual Assault Charges Against 5 Priests in Kerala

The incident came to light in February when the man found some discrepancies in the bank account operated by his wife.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18

Updated:June 29, 2018, 7:05 PM IST
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Crime Branch to Probe Sexual Assault Charges Against 5 Priests in Kerala
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Thiruvananthapuram: Days after a man alleged that his wife was sexually exploited by five priests who threatened to make her confession public, the Kerala Police on Friday ordered a probe by the Crime Branch.

The Additional Director General of Police heading the Crime Branch has constituted a team headed by SP Sabu P Mathew to investigate the matter.

The incident came to light in February when the man found some discrepancies in the bank account operated by his wife. On questioning, the woman revealed that three priests of Niranam diocese in Tiruvalla, one from Thumbamon in Pathanamthitta district and another in Delhi had sexually abused her by threatening to reveal her confession.

According to the managing trustee of the church Father Dr MO John, the woman, in a written statement, had confessed to being in a relationship with two men, both outside her religion.

The complaint to the Kottayam-headquartered Malankara Orthodox Church was lodged in May last year after which the accused priests were suspended from their duties temporarily pending a probe.

However, the man wanted an order from the church defrocking the five priests. He alleged that his wife was sexually exploited after she confessed to a pre-marital relationship with a priest, who threatened to reveal the details to her husband if she refused to cooperate.

The priest allegedly took pictures of them together and shared them with another priest who, in turn, demanded sexual favours from the woman. The man alleged that five-eight priests exploited his wife.

Though the man has handed over all documents of the exploitation to the church authorities, the victim has not yet registered a complaint with the police.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) took suo motu cognisance of the matter and wrote to State Police Chief Loknath Behra directing him to launch an investigation. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had also sought an explanation on the issue.

Though the top politicians of the state were tight-lipped on the issue, former chief minister and Administrative Reforms Commission chief VS Achuthanandan wrote to Behra, saying the internal probe of the church would not be “fair and free” and a police investigation should be conducted.



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