Jalandhar Bishop Rape case: Kerala Christian priest threatens a nun to withdraw her support for the victim

An audio tape has now surfaced where the family of a Kerala based nun and a priest are heard talking, and the priest has been alleged to have attempted to bribe and threaten the nun.

In the leaked audio tape, it is alleged that Father James Erthayil of the Kanjirappallly diocese of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate has attempted to bribe Sister Anupama from the Missionaries of Jesus in Kottayam. Sister Anupam is one of the five nuns, who stood in support of the 44-year old nun, who was allegedly sexually harassed for many years by the Bishop Franco Mullakkal of Jalandhar diocese.

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In that 11-minute audio tape, a priest introduces himself as a friend of the Father Mullakkal has tried to lure Sister Anupama to make her withdraw the support given to the sexually harassed nun. The Kerala priest has offered 10 acres of land and a convent, which would be built exclusively for those six nuns, who belong to the Missionaries of Jesus. They are presently residing in a convent in Kuruvilangad, Kottayam.

The leaked audio has now given to rise to the suspicion that the Catholic Church has been attempting to bury cases of sexual harassment which have been registered against their Bishops and priests.

Father James has warned that the nuns would be ostracised by their families if they continue to support the survivor. He further says, “I am the priest you met yesterday during the mass. I have tried to meet you twice but was not able to meet you. I have gotten information, not that anyone directly spoke to me, that ‘they’ would buy some ten acres of land and build a convent to accommodate some eight-ten nuns.”

The priest in the audio says that the convent would be built near existing Kanjirappallly diocese in Erumeli. Sister Anupama then asked about whether Father Mullakkal will be building the convent and the priest confirmed it, that the Jalandhar diocese and a benefactor will build the convent for the nuns.

The nun then refused the offer and tells him they are not willing to withdraw any case. “We must get justice. We don’t desire to lose any life or sell our dignity. They targeted first”, she said.

Father James then issued threats to Sister Anupama by saying, “If you go to any of the convents in Orissa or Assam, you can get threats. But instead, if you move away from all this and go to another convent headed by an independent Bishop, then there won’t be threats.”

This issue came to surface when a nun from Kerala had accused Father Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, of raping her multiple times from 2014 to 2016. The nun has further alleged that she had approached the Syro-Malabar Church authorities over the matter but no action was taken against the Bishop which made her approach the Police.

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