Kerala Church Priests Arrested Over Rape Charge

Published 16 July 2018  |  
Reuters
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Two of four Kerala church priests charged with allegedly sexually abusing a woman were arrested and taken into custody for further interrogation.

The priests from the Malankara Orthodox Church (MOC) had blackmailed and abused a 32-year-old woman in exchange for sexual acts.

According to the police complaint, one of the priests had sexually abused her when she was 16 years old. When she confessed this to another priest, he allegedly misused her secret confession to blackmail her.

The woman said she was then raped by two other priests to whom she had turned for help. She said both threatened to shame her publicly if she did not have sex with them.

The allegations came to light in February when her husband found out about the blackmail. He had complained to church officials but no action was taken immediately.

On June 2, the police complaint was filed after an audio clip of a conversation between the woman's husband and a church official went viral.

On June 23, the four priests were suspended from their usual duties.

"If they are found guilty, necessary action will be taken against them... The accused will not be shielded and innocent will not be punished," the Kottayam-based church said in a statement following the suspension.

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