Father Robin Vadakkumchery of the Mananthavady diocese who was accused of raping and impregnating 16-year old girl three years ago has removed from the priesthood by Pope Francis.
According to the reports, Syro-Malabar Church priest Robin Vadakkumchery, who is currently serving a jail term for impregnating a 16-year-old girl in Mananthavady diocese, has been defrocked and dispensed from the exercise of priestly duties and rights. He has been reduced to the state of a layman, said a church official.
Last year, Priest Robin was convicted by the Thalassery POCSO court in February 2019 for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl back in 2016. Robin has been sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment and Rs 3 lakh fine by the court.
This case had 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.
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.
The epidemic of sexual abuse of minors by Christian priests is all too familiar. In November, two Catholic priests were sentenced to 40 years in prison in Argentine for abusing deaf children in a Church-run school.
In February last year, 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.