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Mysuru: Minor girl sexually abused, Church officials held under POCSO Act

The girl was promised a job and financial assistance, but was allegedly made to do household chores in forced captivity and abused sexually by the accused pastors.

On Monday, the Mysuru police have arrested three pastors (religious leaders associated with protestant Churches) for allegedly raping a teenager in Mangaluru. All the three Christian priests have now been charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, reported Star of Mysore.

According to the reports, the mother of the victim hails from Mysuru had approached the Karnataka High Court alleging that three pastors had raped her daughter. The court had ordered the Karnataka police to take up the case. The Narasimharaja Police had registered an FIR on Sunday and arrested the rape accused pastors on Monday.

The victim’s mother had told the court that the pastors had approached her and promised to provide her daughter employment in Mangaluru, 200 km away from Mysuru. They also promised the mother Rs 1 lakh as assistance towards building a house. The trio has also been booked for kidnap and abuse in the name of caste under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

KT Balakrishna, the Mysuru police commissioner, had reportedly said the girl was taken to Mangaluru by the priests in November. “Subsequently, when the mother visited the girl she saw that her daughter was used as domestic help and she found out that she was also sexually assaulted,” he said.

The mother had also alleged that the rape accused pastors had kept her daughter captive in a house and sexually abused the minor girl. The accused were identified as Bennet Amman, Joshua Amman, and Sebastian, who hails from Balmatta in Mangaluru.

However, the police team has now arrested the priests but they could not find the victim. “While the victim was not there, we have apprehended the priests,” said the police officer.

According to the Narasimharaja Assistant Commissioner of Police C. Gopal, the victim’s mother has not been traced so far as they could not find her at the address. He said that the complaint was registered on the directions of the High court.

The country has been rocked by repeated rapes and other abusive incidents at Churches, as recently Franco Mulakkal, a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, was arrested and released on bail later for allegedly raping a 44-year old nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014. Similarly, Father Johnson V Mathew, a priest of Malankara Orthodox church was accused in the rape and sexual abuse of a married woman belonging to the fold was arrested in July.

In another incident, a 60-year-old pastor named Chandra Kumar belonging to a local church in Nagaland was arrested for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

In another incident, a 33-year old Catholic priest, Father Prakash Damor was arrested in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh for abetting a 17-year-old girl’s suicide.

Recently, a special Mahila Court in Cuddalore had sentenced a church priest to 30 years in prison and nine others to life in prison for their involvement in the horrifying 2014 Tittakudi rape case, which involved two minor girls.

 

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