Sex For Silence: Four Kerala Church Priests Booked For Allegedly Raping A Woman For 9 Yrs
Four priests of one of Kerala’s most ancient church, Malankara Orthodox church, have been booked by the Kerala Crime Branch. A man from Thiruvalla had alleged that five priests had been sexually abusing his wife for several years. His wife had made a confession about her affair before marriage to one of the priests, who then used it to blackmail her into bed.
It is to be noted that whenever a person makes a confession to a priest, a very sacred sacramental seal is formed. The Canon Law which is applicable to the Roman Catholics across the world does not allow breaking of this seal by priests to even save his or somebody else’s life or even aid the course of justice.
The case has been registered against four priests – Fr Abraham Varghese, Fr Job Mathew, Fr Johnson Mathew and Fr Jaise George. They have been booked on the charges of rape and molestation.
As reported by The News Minute, the woman had made a confession to Fr Job Mathew in 2009, who then allegedly used it against her to receive sexual favours. The husband of the victim discovered a five-star hotel bill in her mailbox. When he confronted her about this, his wife revealed to him the ordeal she had been undergoing for years. This incident earned massive limelight after the telephonic conversation between the man and the Church authorities got leaked. According to the audio clip, rape incidents began after the confession made during their daughter’s baptism.
The church has not taken any action against the priests and have only relieved the accused priests from their official duties and sent them on leave. Church spokesperson PC Elias had said that thorough investigations were required to ascertain the authenticity of the complaint as some of the allegations were very old, Firstpost reports.
Church managing committee chairman Father Mathew Abraham said that in the past the complainant has tried to assault a priest, “Once he created a scene in his parish committee meeting and tried to assault a priest. Other members of the parish had condemned his action and isolated him from the community. He may be trying to take revenge by raising baseless allegations against the priests.”
He also added that this accusation is difficult to believe, “It is not easy for anybody to do such things in star hotels which are under 24×7 CCTV surveillance. If anyone of the priests accused by the complainant has taken his wife to the five-star hotel, it can be confirmed from the CCTV footage.”
Fr Mathew Abhram also said that all the priests abide by the Sacrament of Penance and that no one would attempt to break that.
However, Church activists believe otherwise. Joemon Puthenpurackkal, who has been spearheading a campaign to fight the murder of Sister Abhaya at a convent in Kottayam in 1992, said that the Church has a long history of protecting the guilty. He said, “Sexual abuse cases involving the clergy are on the rise in Kerala. This is because the church is protecting the guilty. If Church officials stop this and take stern and timely action against the guilty, such cases will come down.”
The Logical Indian urges the police and the church authorities to take strict action against the accused if proven guilty.