Kerala christian priest accused of rape surrenders

People stage a protest against incidents of rape, in Mumbai. (Reuters file pic for representation only)

One of the three priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) accused in a rape case surrendered before the police on Thursday.

Fr Job Mathew – second accused in the case based on a homemaker’s allegation that she was sexually abused by four priests attached to the Church – surrendered before the police Crime Branch team in Kollam.

The Kerala High Court had on Wednesday turned down pleas for anticipatory bail by Fr Abraham Varghese, Fr Job Mathew and Fr Jaise K George and directed the accused to surrender.

Fr Mathew is accused to have used a confession of the survivor, a Thiruvalla native – regarding a sexual relationship she had with Fr Abraham Varghese, before her marriage – to intimidate her and sexually abuse her.

The court observed that prima facie, the priests had acted as “predators” and taken “undue advantage” of the survivor. Fr George is accused to have abused her after she, during a counselling session, revealed details about the abuse by the other priests. The fourth priest, Fr Johnson V Mathew, is charged with outraging the modesty of the woman, a mother of two.

The revelation which brought administrators of the Kottayam-headquartered church under the scanner was first made by the survivor’s husband in a complaint submitted to the church’s Niranam diocese in Pathanamthitta district in May. The MOSC had commenced what it called an internal probe as outrage over the allegation peaked, leading the police to register an FIR against the four priests.

On Thursday, Fr Mathew is learnt to have contacted the police expressing his willingness to surrender. He was later detained from a family member’s home. As the Crime Branch continued its interrogation in Kollam, reports said Fr Varghese and Fr George were likely to approach the Supreme Court seeking anticipatory bail.

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Kerala christian priest accused of rape surrenders

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