Thrissur, Kerala: A Pastor who was once attached with the Salvation Army Church at Peechi, in Thrissur has been given life sentence until death by a POCSO court after he was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl. The judgement was given today by session court judge Nickson M Joseph, as the court found Pastor Sanal K James (35) guilty of sexually abusing a minor girl on several occasions at his official residence from 2013 to 2015. According to a report, the victim belonged to a poor Dalit family who lived near the Salvation Army Church.
According to Deccan Chronicle, Pastor Sanal K James had also sexually abused another minor girl during the same period for which he was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment by the same court a few months ago.
The Pastor was slapped with charges under both POCSO and Indian Penal Code. The child sexual abuse was reported after the victim revealed her ordeal to her teacher who alerted the Childline. After the case came on the public domain the issue was first brought before the Child Welfare Committee, which later informed that the police after which a case was filed against Pastor James. The pastor was then arrested after the medical report found the girl was raped several times.
The court conducted the trial in the POCSO court where the victim was allowed to stand in a specially arranged box so that others could not see her. In last two years, the prosecution produced 32 witnesses, 16 documents and four pieces of material evidence. On behalf of the victim, the case was fought by public prosecutor Pious Mathew.