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Kerala: 68-year-old Christian priest from Syro Malabar Church booked for sexually assaulting three 9-year old girls

The Kerala police have booked Father George Padayattil under Section 10 (Punishment for aggravated sexual assault) and Section 11 (Sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. According to the police, the priest is currently absconding. 

A 68-year-old Christian priest of the Syro Malabar Church named Father George Padayattil, the vicar of Holy Cross Church in Chendamangalam in Ernakulam district, has been booked for the rape of three 9-year-old girls, reports The News Minute.

According to the report, the case has been registered against ‘Father’ Padayattil after the three minor victims complained to their teacher that the Christian priest had touched them inappropriately.

“The incidents happened last month when the girls went to the priest’s ‘meda’, the place where he stays alongside the church, to get his blessings after Sunday rites. According to the complaint, the girls revealed that he touched them inappropriately during two such incidents,” the officials at the Vadakkekkara Police station said.

Reportedly, the story came to light after one of the three children reported the incident to her school teacher. The police added that the teacher informed Childline officials and they received a complaint through the child welfare committee. The three girls are studying in the same school and are classmates.

Parents of the three children were informed by the school teachers who had spoken to the students.

The Kerala police have booked Christian priest Father George Padayattil under Section 10 (Punishment for aggravated sexual assault) and Section 11 (Sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for the rape of the minors. According to the police, the priest is currently absconding.

The police further added that the minor victims gave their statement to the judicial magistrate under oath. “We are waiting to receive a copy of the statement, following which we will increase the charges against him,” the police official said.

There has been a dangerous trend of repeated cases of rape and other abusive incidents at Churches across the world. Unfortunately, India is not immune to this plague either. Christian priest and churches, like most cases worldwide, have been targeting the poor, destitute for their crimes but the cases go unnoticed.

However, in India, the crimes have been coming into public domain lately. There have been several incidents of sexual harassment and other abuse by Church officials and priests.

In 2018,  a 45-year-old Christian priest was booked for the brutal rape an 11-year old girl in Vallampadu, Andhra Pradesh. In July 2017, Father Saji Joesph, a priest who was the director of a children’s home in Kerala’s Wayanad district, was arrested after allegations of sexually abusing minor boys.

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 2018.

In February, the Mysuru police had 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, as per reports.

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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