Bishop Sexual assault case: police inspect bishop’s room

Police probing the allegation of rape against a bishop of the Jalandhar dioecese on Tuesday inspected the room where the clergyman had stayed during his visit to a convent, where a nun had accused him of sexually assaulting her, officials said. They also examined the visitors’ register, which contained details of the bishop’s visit to the convent and said it was carried out to corroborate the evidence provided by the nun in her statement to police.

Police said they have completed preliminary investigation into the case and that the top clergyman may be summoned for questioning, if necessary. In her complaint to the Kottayam district police chief, the nun has charged Mulakkal with rape and unnatural sex multiple times at a small town near Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.

She has alleged she was abused first in 2014 at a guest house near an orphanage in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district.Meanwhile, Kottayam district police chief Hari Sankar said the probe team would question the bishop only after all legal formalities are completed.He said no decision has yet been taken on whether to summon the Bishop here for interrogation or send the team to Jalandhar.

“A decision in this regard will be taken based on the progress in the investigation. Before that so many legal formalities have to be completed,” Hari Sankar told. Police also moved a plea in the magistrate court to record the victim’s statement under Section 164 of the IPC.

The Syro-Malabar church, accused of covering up the charges, has said that its head, Cardinal George Alencherry, had not received any sexual assault complaint from her and that it came to know of the allegations from media reports.The church had also said it could not find any such complaint from records in the office of the Cardinal,also the Major Archbishop of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese and that it could not even identify the victim from media reports.

It also clarified the Syro-Malabar Church did not enjoy any authority over the Jalandhar diocese or its bishop who serves in the Latin hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

Supporters of the bishop have rejected the charges against him and claimed the nun filed the complaint after a priest, also an official of the Jalandhar diocese, lodged a police complaint against her relatives for allegedly threatening the bishop.

Based on the complaints of the nun and the priest, police have launched an investigation.A deputy superintendent of police-ranking official is probing the case.

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