Rape case: Kerala priest surrenders before probe team
12 July, 2018, 22:14 | Author: Myra Gill
Father Job Mathew was the second among the four accused.
He was taken into custody from Kollam (south Kerala) and efforts are on to nab three others, police said.
Fearing arrests, the three approached the Kerala state High Court in the city of Kochi after the state police early this month began investigating a complaint by the woman that they sexually exploited her over years.
In her statement to the police, the woman said Father Varghese first assaulted her during a prayer meeting when she was just 16.
According to the woman, she was "systematically abused" by the accused, who were all closely known to her family.
The public prosecutor said the victim had, in her statement to a magistrate, narrated in detail the abuse to which she was subjected.
"The Kerala high court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of three priests of a church accused of raping a woman, observing they acted as "predators" and took "undue advantage" of her".
When she sought help from another priest, he too threatened her and shared her contact with a fellow priest and, in the end, she came under duress from at least five priests.
"The reasonable possibility of the accused managing to obstruct the course of justice, if released at this stage, can not be brushed aside", it said. "One of them, even blackmailed her based on her confession, required to be done as a ritual before our child's baptism", the husband has told NDTV.
The Orthodox Church Trustee, Father MO John, while speaking to NDTV said that the church is not hiding facts or shielding the priests. "The priests have been suspended and they have no responsibilities in the church now". The Malankara Orthodox church has asked them to surrender after the court rejected their bail pleas. We are not hiding them at all.
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