Father Robin Vadakkumchery of the Mananthavady diocese who was accused of raping and impregnating 16-year old girl two years ago has been convicted by Thalassery POCSO court. Father Vadakkumchery, who has been sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 3 lakh fine by the court, was the prime accused in the rape case. Six others who were accused in the case have been acquitted by the court.
Kerala: Thalassery POCSO court sentences Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery to 20 years rigorous imprisonment for raping&impregnating a minor girl in Kannur. He has been sent to 60 yrs rigorous imprisonment in 3 charges including rape. He can serve all the 3 sentences together.
— ANI (@ANI) February 16, 2019
The six accused who were acquitted included five nuns from the Christu Raj convent and one administrator. They were accused of covering up the incident but were acquitted due to lack of substantial evidence.
This case exposed the ugliness of the power nexus within the Church, when the rape survivor’s father, during the initial stages of the case, took the blame of brutal crime upon himself and said that he had raped his own daughter and impregnated her. But later he broke down before the court and admitted that the child delivered by the rape survivor belonged to Father Robin. This was established by a DNA test which showed that Father Robin’s DNA matched with that of the child delivered by the girl. Not just this, even the rape survivor and her mother were declared hostile witnesses in the case by the judge after they tried to hide the girl’s real age and told the court that she was 18 at the time of the rape. Later the girl’s age was found to be 16 at the time of the crime based on her live birth certificate.
The rape survivor used to study at a school where the convict was a teacher. The girl had accused him of raping her several times in 2016. She delivered a baby at the Christu Raj Hospital which is run by the church in Thokkilangadi, Kannur, on February 7, 2017. It was revealed during the investigation that a network of Christian institutions was protecting the accused by covering up the crime to save their own face.