Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Kerala Orthodox Church abuse case: HC dismisses anticipatory bail plea of priests

One Of 4 Kerala Priests Accused Of Rape Surrenders Kerala HC rejects anticipatory bail plea of 3 priests accused of rape
Steven Clarke | 13 July, 2018, 16:47

The anticipatory bail petitions of the four rape-accused priests were rejected by the Kerala High Court on Wednesday.

He was taken into custody from Kollam (south Kerala) and efforts are on to nab three others, police said.

The police have filed rape cases against three priests and one has been accused of molestation.

The Kottayam-headquartered church has gone into a limbo since the allegations have surfaced.

In their anticipatory bail plea, the priests had argued that the rape charges against them will not stand, since the survivor, in a declaration submitted before the church, has not alleged rape.

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In a scathing observation, while rejecting the bail pleas, the court yesterday said, "It appears that the applicants have acted as predators and have taken undue advantage of the position of the survivor".

The complainant's husband said he came to know about the abuse in February this year when he noticed a suspicious bank statement about a hotel transaction in his wife's email inbox.

The 34-year-old victim had given a secret statement before the Thiruvalla Judicial First Class Magistrate based on section 164 of CrPC reiterating her claim that she was sexually assaulted by the priests. However, when George continued to torment her and spread "baseless gossip" she made a decision to take legal recourse, police said. Fr Job Mathew, the second accused, was later arrested and questioned at the commissioner's office here.

"She was sexually abused as a minor". Later, he informed two of his colleagues - Jais K George and Jonson V Mathew - who also joined him in blackmailing the woman. One of the priests escaped action as the victim had mentioned only four names, a police officer said. They claimed the case was registered against them exclusively "under political pressure exerted by certain vested interests to derive political mileage".

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