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Indian Catholic Bishop Arrested over Nun's Rape

Friday, October 5, 2018, 22:11 (IST)

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, 54-year-old, who was accused of repeatedly raping a nun, has been arrested on Sept 21 in Kerala.

"With reasonable suspicion, the investigating officer has been convinced about the charges framed against the bishop. The probe has revealed that the bishop has committed the crime and the allegations raised against him by the nun are reasonably true,'' said Kottayam SP Hari Sankar.

Mulakkal is the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested in a rape case.

Although Mulakkal denied the rape accusation against him, he was arrested following contradictions in his statements, circumstantial evidence, statements of witnesses, and the nun's statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, police sources said Indian Express.

Mulakkal had raped the nun 13 times at the mission house in Kottayam district, over a period of two years from May 5, 2014, according to the complaint filed by the nun this June. However, the investigation was dragged on for nearly three months.

The probe in to the rape case gained momentum after five nuns, under the banner of Save Our Sisters Action Council, staged a protest against Mulakkal in Kochi on Sept. 8.

"The bishops and the Church authorities should shed their criminal silence on the issue. Our agitation was not against the person, but against his wrong deeds and attitude. The bishop tried to trap our sister (who accused him of rape) in fabricated cases and threatened her with dire consequences if she complained against the abuse,'' said Sister Anupama, one of the protesting nuns.

"There should not be another Franco in the Church. This incident should lead to reformation of the Church,'' Anupama added.

Earlier, police arrested a senior priest, James Earthayil, who allegedly promised 10 acres of land to the nun if she withdrew the complaint.