Kerala nun rape case: Bishop accused of defaming victim

Kerala Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

A nun in Kerala, who was allegedly sexually abused by former bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, has come up with a fresh allegation that Franco was trying to defame her as well as the other nuns who are witnesses in the case on social media.

The nun of a convent in Kottayam district in Kerala alleged in a petition sent to National Women's Commission and Kerala Women's Commission that video messages were spread through a YouTube channel run by Franco's supporters to defame her and the witnesses. The identity of the nuns were also being revealed indirectly, the victim alleged.

The fresh allegations comes at a time when the trial in the sexual assault case against Franco is about to begin at a court in Kottayam. Recently, a summons was served to Franco to appear before the court on November 11.

Franco allegedly sexually assaulted the nun at Kuravilangad in Kottayam several times between 2014 and 2016. The Kerala police which probed into the matter filed a charge sheet against Franco in April. The charges against him included rape, unnatural sex, illegal detention and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Though the nun filed the police petition in 2017 against Franco, who was then Bishop of Jalandhar, the police launched a probe and arrested Franco on September 21 after a section of nuns staged a demonstration in Kochi. He was in remand for 25 days before getting bail.

Even though Franco was suspended from the powers of Bishop following his arrest, he is still allegedly having influence in the church's administrative matters. Nuns who are witnesses in the case against Franco were even served transfer orders recently allegedly at the behest of Franco.

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