Kerala High Court on Wednesday has rejected the anticipatory bail applications by three priests who are accused of raping and molesting a housewife in Tiruvalla.
Three priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church, Fr Abraham Varghese, Fr Job Mathew and and Jaise K George, had moved the court seeking anticipatory bail as arrest appeared imminent. The court, while declining to pass orders against the investigation team arresting them, posted the case to Wednesday.
The Government counsel on Wednesday argued that a criminal case had been registered and the charges were of serious nature. Crime Branch official also said that it is necessary to question the priests in custody. However, the priests argued that the FIR was registered on the basis of the woman’s statement and the charge of rape could not be raised and would tantamount to nothing more than `consensual sex’. After hearing the argument, the court rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of the three priests.
The woman’s statement was that she had physical relations with a priest before her marriage and at that time she was a minor. Later, when she made a confession about this to priest Fr Job Mathew in 2009, he blackmailed her and began demanding sexual favours. When she discussed the matter with Fr Johnson Mathew, he morphed her picture and exploited her. While she fell into a state of depression, she consulted Fr Jaise George for counselling, who in turn also abused her.