KOTTAYAM: The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church plans to include woman in the inquiry commission probing the sexual abuse allegationsagainst five priests of the church. This has been following the direction from the supreme head of the church who has instructed to record the statement of the wife of the complainant at the earliest. According to sources in the commission, the statement of the woman, who is a teacher, will be recorded maintaining strict confidentiality.
Meanwhile, in another development, the panel is also planning to examine the CCTV footage and register details of a hotel where the woman is alleged to have spent time with one of the priests. However, the commission is not clear how to go about it as a police case is not registered so far in this case.

Meanwhile, the husband of the woman, who is a manager with a private insurance company, arrived at the Niranam Diocese headquarters on Thursday evening to submit the original copies of the documents he had earlier submitted as proof for his allegations. The copies include telephone call lists, hotel bills etc. He submitted these documents before a three-member panel of the diocese. The priest who is facing serious charges among the five belongs to this diocese. The husband said that though he won’t approach the police with a case but is ready to present the proof with him to the National Commission for Women which has directed the Kerala Police chief to conduct a probe.

According to sources, the inquiry panel is set to submit its report by July end.

Meanwhile, senior CPM leader V S Achutanandan gave letter to the state police chief asking him to register a case and launch a probe based on the open disclosures of the husband. He also urged the church to hand over the crucial evidence which they have to the police.

The Church was mired in controversy following a serious allegation that a married woman was sexually exploited by some priests who used her confessions as a blackmail tool. The husband of the woman had filed a complaint with the church after he claimed that he had “sufficient evidence”. The accused priests have been relieved from their church duties temporarily till the panel completes its probe.