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Kerala Priest Accused of Rape Denies Charges in Video, Says Survivor Has 'Several Character Flaws'

Denying the charges, Father Abraham Varghese said there were several discrepancies in the woman’s statement before the church and the crime branch.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:July 19, 2018, 7:33 PM IST
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Kerala Priest Accused of Rape Denies Charges in Video, Says Survivor Has 'Several Character Flaws'
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Thiruvananthapuram: Father Abraham Varghese, the prime accused in the rape case of a 34-year-old who was allegedly exploited by four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church, has released a video denying the charges and accusing the survivor of having “several character flaws”.

In the video released on YouTube and later taken off, Varghese rubbished the allegations against him and revealed the name and details of the woman’s husband in contravention of the law.

The 34-year-old has accused the four priests of sexually exploiting her by threatening to make her confessions public. In her statement to the police, the woman said was sexually abused by Varghese since the age of 16 and when she confessed this to her vicar father Job Mathew, he raped her by threatening to reveal her confession. The woman also accused priests Johnson V Mathew and Jaise K George of sexually assaulting her.

However, denying the charges, Varghese said there were several discrepancies in the woman’s statement before the church and the crime branch.

“According to the complaint received by Bishop Chrysostom, it’s mentioned that during the year 2000, at the age of 17, both of us were in a relationship and that gradually evolved into a physical relationship. But when the Crime Branch submitted the FIR the next month, the statement says this happened at the age of 16.

“When she was studying in Class 7, I had completed my graduation and gone to Hyderabad for pre-seminary studies. I was not here in the period during which the woman alleged she was exploited and that can be verified through the documents of the Hyderabad institution and the seminary,” he said in the video.

Calling it “strange”, he added, “The woman alleges that after 40 days of her wedding, she came to my work place and met me for such a relationship. Officials must ensure that the laws made for women safety should not be misused by them.”

Varghese said the survivor was related to him and there was no enmity between the families. “Only after talking to the woman’s mother could I understand that she had several character flaws. My wife and I visited the woman’s mother after this complaint; that is when we got to know she has several issues,” he said.

The priest added, “If you check my phone records, my innocence can be proven. The media is saying I am absconding. Let me tell them that my bail was rejected in the HC on July 11 and I applied in the Supreme Court on the 13th. I have been busy with that. And I will cooperate with any investigation.”

The incident came to light last month when the complainant found some discrepancies in a 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 sexually abused her by threatening to reveal her confession. However, her statement named only four of them.

The priests were charged with rape and molestation. Two of them have been arrested, while Varghese and George had approached the Supreme Court for anticipatory bail.
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