Sec­ond Ker­ala priest ar­rested in rape probe

Gulf Times - - INDIA -

Fa­ther John­son V Mathew, one of the four Ker­ala priests named in a sex­ual abuse case was ar­rested from a place near here, said po­lice yes­ter­day.

It is the sec­ond ar­rest in the case where the hus­band of a woman has ac­cused five priests of sex­u­ally abus­ing his wife for a decade.

While four priests have been ar­raigned as ac­cused, Mathew has been charged not for rape, but “for out­rag­ing the mod­esty of a lady”.

Mathew was taken into cus­tody by the Ker­ala crime branch from a house in Kozhencherry. He is be­ing in­ter­ro­gated at the Crime Branch of­fice.

On Thurs­day the po­lice ar­rested Fa­ther Job Mathew and he has been re­manded to ju­di­cial cus­tody.

The po­lice yes­ter­day also searched the house of the first ac­cused, Fa­ther Sony (Abra­ham) Vargh­ese near here. How­ever, they failed to get any lead on his where­abouts. Vargh­ese along with an­other ac­cused, Fa­ther Jaice K Ge­orge, are on the run.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, the crime branch is­sued a warn­ing that no one should try to shield any of the ac­cused. A few hours later Mathew was taken into cus­tody.

The ar­rest of the ac­cused priests be­came a cer­tainty af­ter the Kochi high court on Wed­nes­day re­jected the an­tic­i­pa­tory bail plea of three of them named in the com­plaint.

A woman who reg­u­larly vis­ited the Malankara Ortho­dox church had ac­cused five priests of sex­u­ally abus­ing her for a decade. Her hus­band had com­plained that she came un­der the duress from at least five priests.

It was one priest who first ex­ploited his wife and then started black­mail­ing her. When she sought help from an­other priest, he too threat­ened her and shared her con­tact with a fel­low priest and she was even­tu­ally vic­timised by five of them.

The Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Women is mon­i­tor­ing the case. One of the priests es­caped ac­tion as the vic­tim had men­tioned only four names, the po­lice of­fi­cer said.

There have been re­ports that the two priests cur­rently on the run hope to ap­proach the Supreme Court for re­lief from ar­rest.

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