FIR against priests ‘soon’: nun’s rape allegation case

FIR against priests ‘soon’: nun’s rape allegation case

Revathy Menon

An FIR is to be registered soon against a group of priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on the rape allegations by a nun based in Jalandhar. DGP Loknath Behra said the police have received the nun’s complaint and an FIR will be registered ‘soon’.

In recent months the church in Kerala has been hit by many allegations of sexual exploitation of the laity by clergymen. Financial impropriety in church land dealings has also surfaced and caught public attention reflecting poorly on the church administration.

In this case the victim belongs to the Order of Missionaries of Jesus at Kuruvilangad and she has accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar of sexually exploiting her several times since May 2014. The victim is reported to have said that she was blackmailed and raped by him. The scandal turned murkier with counter allegations of blackmail being leveled by a section of the church. They point to a power struggle within the order in which the nun is functioning.

What is alarming is that though the nun had complained of this sexual transgression earlier to the authorities, no action was taken for nearly 6 months. This compelled the victim to go to the police seeking justice. DGP Behera said that the victim’s statement will be recorded. He said that he has received both the nun’s complaint as well as the Bishop’s complaint that he was being threatened by her. Both statements will be examined and a suitable decision will be taken.

A complaint has also been filed to the Ernakulam Range IG accusing Cardinal Alencherry of sitting on the complaint by the nun for over 6 months. This complaint was by John Jacob, Convenor of the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency, Angamaly, and stated that the church had tried to brush aside the case by threatening the nun and had later attempted to settle the issue through mediation.

Fr. Paul Thelekkat the former spokesman of the Syro Malabar Church was of the opinion that the issue should have been settled long ago. He added that, ’Since both parties have come up with contradicting statements, a thorough investigation will be conducted by the Church.’