A 40-year-old Catholic priest, identified as George alias Jerry was arrested on Saturday night after he allegedly attempted to sexually assault the children staying at a boys’ home. He was arrested on a complaint lodged by the parents of the children who ran away from the home in Perumbadom in Kochi, Kerala.
The priest who headed the boy’s home, which provided shelter and education for children from poor families, had been sexually abusing the inmates since December 2018, confirmed the police.
The incident came to the fore when some boys called their parents from a phone with the help of a person whom they met on a street Saturday night, after fleeing from the boys’ home in Perumbadom, PTI reported.
George alias Jerry has been remanded to 14-days police custody after police registered a case against him under sections 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and other relevant sections of POCSO and Juvenile Justice Act.
There has been a long and disconcerting history of sexual exploitations, rape, child abuse and harassment spread throughout the churches of India and its associated institutions.
In February 2019, we reported how Father Robin Vadakkumchery of the Mananthavady diocese who was accused of raping and impregnating 16-year old girl two years ago had been convicted by Thalassery POCSO court. Father Vadakkumchery, who had been sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 3 lakh fine by the court, was the prime accused in the rape case.
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.
In a similar case, a special Mahila Court in Cuddalore in January 2019, delivered an important judgement sentencing 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.
The horrific rape occurrences at Churches are turning out be a grave issue in the country. 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 accused in the rape and sexual abuse of a married woman belonging to the fold was arrested in July.