One out of the three Kerala Christian priests who have charges of rape slapped against them, surrendered before the Crime Branch office in Kollam on Thursday, Times of India has reported.
This matter pertains to a married woman accusing five Malankara Orthodox Church priests of of blackmail and sexual abuse. As per the victim’s husband, his wife was abused by the priests a whopping 380 times. It was claimed that the troubles began when the victim confessed to one of the accused priests about having a pre-marital relationship. The priests then allegedly started to blackmail her using this confession, in a bid to elicit sexual favours.
A complaint was subsequently lodged against four out of the five priests, with the accused being named Abraham Varghese, Job Mathew, Johnson Mathew and Jaise George. They were booked by the police on charges of rape and outraging the modesty of a woman.
A Hindustan Times report has even reported the victims allegations about her being sexually assaulted by Varghese – while she was a minor.
Following the probe team’s submission of the FIR in the Kerala High Court, Johnson Mathew was exempted from the rape charge. The three other accused though got their anticipatory bails rejected by the High Court. While rejecting their bail pleas, the High Court had reportedly observed that they acted as predators to take undue advantage of the victim.
Now as also reported by Manorama Online, Job Matthew surrendered before the crime branch deputy superintendent of police in Kollam, following which he is now being questioned.
Now claims are that the two other accused might be planning to move to the Supreme Court to get anticipatory bail. A News18 report though has given another dimension to the matter by hinting that the two priests might be absconding, as the police has now started making attempts to trace them.