A second nun has accused disgraced rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of sexual abuse. The second victim is a witness in the ongoing rape case against the Christian priest. As per reports, the latest victim had narrated her ordeal to the Police in September 2018, however, she was unwilling to register a complaint about the matter because she was afraid. As a consequence, a second case wasn’t registered against the Bishop.
The police have said that they have received the statement of another nun against the Bishop. The nun has alleged that the Bishop made sexual remarks and lewd comments in a telephonic conversation with her. The nun says that they were in telephonic conversation for a period of two years between 2015 and 2017.
She had said in her statement that in 2017, Mulakkal visited the convent she was in and then proceeded to grab her and kiss her. The nun has also alleged that she was forced to display her body by the Bishop. The nun’s statements have been recorded in the charge sheet against the Bishop. However, a separate complaint could not be filed in the matter. The nun said that she was not interested in the sexually explicit chat but could not oppose the Bishop due to fear of expulsion from the Church.
“I had to contact the bishop over the phone for some official needs since 2015. But, shortly after the bishop started talks with sexual connotations over the phone, which was disgusting for me. He also talked about sexual acts and later started describing various body parts of me and the bishop,” the statement said. “Between April and May 2017, I lived in a convent in Kerala. Franco came to the convent to conduct a probe about my conduct. His driver and Father Antony were with the bishop but they lived in separate rooms. Franco called me to his room and asked me for an explanation. While I was leaving, he hugged me and kissed me on my forehead,” she stated.
The second nun’s statement was released by the Save Our Sisters (SOS) forum. They have now demanded that a separate case be registered against the Bishop. “It is mysterious that police didn’t initiate suo moto case even after nun had made a serious deposition before the investigation team. A fresh investigation should be launched into the allegation. More importantly, police should ensure that the victim, who belongs to the same diocese, is not intimidated or influenced by the bishop,” SOS office-bearers said in a press release.
SOS has also claimed that after the second nun gave the statement, the convent made a concerted attempt to silence her by not allowing her to leave the convent or talk to anyone outside. “After the nun gave this statement, the convent tried to silence her by not allowing her to leave the convent or talk to anyone outside. It was only recently that we got to know about the treatment meted out to her by the convent authorities. That is why we decided to release the statement she gave the police in 2018. This is a statement that she has signed,” Riju Kanjoorkaran, a convener of SOS, told The News Minute.
There have been regular attempts to silence the nuns who have spoken out against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Sister Lucy Kalapura, one of the five nuns who stood in support of the nun who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the rape case, said last month that she was being starved at the convent as authorities have been depriving her of food to force her out of the church.
Four nuns who had supported the rape survivor nun were asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent, and go to convents, previously assigned to them. Apart from threats and intimidation, Father Kuriakose who had testified against Bishop Franco was found dead under mysterious circumstances.
The allegations against Bishop Franco Mulakkal surfaced after a nun from Kerala had accused the Bishop from Jalandhar of raping her. Bishop Franco Mulakkal is said to have raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and exploited her sexually on several other occasions. The nun had registered a complaint before the Kottayam district Police chief Harishankar in June 2018.