'What's happening in churches?': SC reacts to Kerala sex scandal, questions rise in abuse cases against priests

Cases of sexual exploitation against priests belonging to different churches of Kerala prompted the Supreme Court to react to the situation on Thursday.

"What is happening in Kerala, priests are becoming accused in rape cases," the Supreme Court wondered as it asked the state police to file a status report on the investigation done against four clergymen accused of sexually abusing a married woman.

 Whats happening in churches?: SC reacts to Kerala sex scandal, questions rise in abuse cases against priests

A view of Supreme Court of India. PTI

The first case before the bench is against Joseph Therakam, who is accused of trying to help the main accused priest cover up the incident. The accused priest was arrested in 2017 on charges of raping a minor girl and impregnating her. The father of the victim had claimed that he earlier falsely admitted to raping his own daughter in order to “protect the priest and the church”.

The second case involves four priests from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Two accused clergymen — Sony (Abraham) Varghese and Jaice K George have approached the apex court challenging the order of the Kerala High Court which had denied anticipatory bail to them.

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a status report of police investigation in the case relating to the Malankara Church priests. The bench asked the police to file a report on investigation within two weeks and posted the matter for hearing on 6 August.

A woman, who regularly visited the Malankara Church, had initially accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade.

Initially, it was only one priest who first exploited the woman. 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 name of the fifth clergyman was not included in the FIR for want of substantial evidence.

The National Commission for Women is monitoring the case.

According to NDTV, at least 12 priests have been arrested in the last 18 months in different cases related to sexual abuse. Since May, three such cases have surfaced.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2018 22:35:17 IST