It seems the controversy of probe and rape case by priest is not going to end soon. Four more priests are booked by crime branch on Monday on charges of rape and molesting a woman. The priests belong to the Malankara Orthodox Church.
A man from Thiruvalla had alleged that five priests of the church had been sexually abusing his wife for several years, after one of them threatened her using her confession secret. Four priests viz. Fr Abraham Varghese, Fr Job Mathew, Fr Johnson Mathew and Fr Jaise George have been booked on charges of rape and molestation.
The case was registered against the priests after the investigating team recorded the survivor’s statement. According to CB sources, Fr Job Mathew is accused of blackmailing the survivor using her confession secret way back in 2009. While the survivor’s husband has accused five priests, sources in the department say that the survivor has named only four priests.
The survivor had reportedly confessed about her relationship prior to her marriage to Fr Job, after which, he allegedly threatened that he would disclose it to the survivor’s husband. Subsequently, more priests began to threaten her and demand sexual favours. On Friday, days after the case came to light, state DGP Loknath Behera directed the CB to initiate a probe into the issue.
This development comes in the wake of mounting pressure on the state police for not having registered a suo motu case, despite the survivor’s husband revealing to the media that his wife was sexually abused. The survivor’s husband had also alleged that despite him complaining to the Church months ago, it took no action against the accused priests.
Meanwhile, the Church relieved the accused priests from their official duties and sent them on leave, instead of proceeding with disciplinary action or reporting the crime to the police.
Police finally intervened after criticism arose even from National Commission for Women (NCW) and CPIM leader VS Achuthanandan writing to the state DGP to initiate a probe into the allegations.