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Clergy sex abuse: High Court asks priests, nuns to surrender 

By Matters India Reporter

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on March 14 asked a Catholic priest and two nuns, who are co-accused in a clergy sex abuse case, to surrender before an investigation officer.

Father Thomas Therakam, Sisters Ophelia and Betty Jose and lay woman Thankamma Nelliyani had approached the court for anticipatory bail after a priest of Mananthavady diocese was arrested on February 28 for abusing a minor girl.

The girl on February 6 delivered a baby boy in a Church hospital in Koothuparamba. The child was later shifted to a fondling home at Vythiri in Wayanad district, some 105 km southeast of Koothuparamba.

The court gave the four five days to surrender, and asked the police to produce before the court on the same day and given conditional bail on 30,000-rupee bonds. The court observed that the cases slapped against them are bailable. Most charges will not stand, it added. However, the court asked the police to seize their passports and asked them to appear before the investigation officer every Monday and Friday for the next three months.

Father Therakam was the director of Child Welfare Committee of Wayanad where Sister Jose was the woman member. The committee is the sole authority to deal with matters concerning children in need of care and protection. Such committees are set up for every district. Each committee has a chairperson and four other members, one of them a woman.

On March 6, the Kerala government removed Father Therakam and Sister Jose from the Wayanad committee for allegedly tampering with the records in the minor abuse case to protect the arrested priest.

Earlier, the diocese of Mananthavady removed Father Therakam from the post of its public relations officer.

Sister Ophelia is the director of a foundling home where the minor’s girl’s child was shifted after its delivery on February 6.

The girl was allegedly impregnated by Father Robin Vadakkumcherry, vicar of St Sebastian’s Church in Kottiyoor and the manager of the school where she attended eleventh grade.

Earlier on March 10, the Additional Sessions Court in Tellicherry handed over Father Vadakkumcherry to the police for four-day interrogation.

Police had registered a case against Father Therakam and the nuns for violating rules in admitting the baby in the orphanage
Following the controversy, the government had disbanded the CWC and appointed new office bearers.

Investigating officers, who visited the hospital and the orphanage, had reportedly found discrepancies. The police have registered cases under Protection of Child Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Juvenile Justice Act.

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8 Responses to Clergy sex abuse: High Court asks priests, nuns to surrender

  1. Vincent Bagul

    The Matters India reporter needs to be congratulated for bringing out the news in all its details. Though some pius minded persons feel offended and shocked, it is the journalists’ duty to inform the general public about wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    The priest and nuns who are accomplices in the criminal act should have repented and surrendered to the police even before the court directives. But they have turned out to be worse than ordinary people.

    The Medical Registration of the two doctor nuns should be suspended by the Medical Council.

    Even in Maharashtra, complaints have been lodged with the Bar Council to suspend / cancel registration of some nun Advocates for their alleged misconduct.

  2. George

    Halo , who denies the gravity of the offense by way of aiding or abetting. The crime has to be treated with all its gravity and the culprits should undergo all the legal, criminal procedures as per IPC. It is obvious that the culprit, a catholic clergy man , supposed to be the protector is jailed. The concerned authorities are handling the matter in its severity….. Not hurting the sentiments of a believing community is also part of journalistic ethics.

  3. EA Thomas

    Matters India Reporter not only seems to enjoy repeating the story in detail but also reports inaccurately, stating that sister Ophelia is the director of a “fondling[sic!!]home”…..either due to carelessness or downright malice! Does anyone spare a thought also for that innocent little one whose coming into this world is the cause of all this tragic controversy!?

  4. chhotebhai

    Aiding or abetting a crime is also a criminal offence and must be treated as such, no matter who the person is. Jesus said that to whom more is given of him more is expected. The Indian penal Code also treats rape by a person in power over a protectee as a more grievous offence. On both counts the priest in question is doubly liable for his alleged offence.Such acts should not be soft pefalled. By doing so we are only encouraging more such predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing.Hence Matters India must be congratulated for not compromising on journalistic ethics

  5. George

    Matters of India is expected to be fair and unbiased in reporting. It is about the warrant notice issued by the court. As KC has pointed out, it seems the editor is biased.

  6. George Jose

    it is not very pleasent to watch the clergy and nuns running from criminal procedure when they should have been the ones speaking up for the victims. Time to beat our chests and admit we have wronged the people of God.The arrogance exhibited by many of them is definitely adding oil to the fire.There were reports that the father of the victim girl is under pressure to confess that he had raped his own daughter. Just wondering who must be excercising that pressure!

  7. K C Thomas

    Matters India reporter seems to enjoy repeating the story in detail in every report — may be to enable readers not to forget the cruel story