In one of the most embarrassing incident a catholic priest who was also the manager of the School had been arrested by the Kerala police in connection with the raping of a minor girl. The victim was studying at the same institution where the accused Priest was holding the top position. The most surprising thing here is, the priest who is arrested by the police for impregnating the minor girl was known for taking the stand against the child abuse. According to the sources, The 16-year-old victim gave birth to a baby at a private hospital 20 days ago following to which the matter came to the light.
The priest who is supposed to be the guiding light for the others has himself been accused of the sexual abuse of the minor which lead to the pregnancy. According to the sources, Fr. Robin Vaddakumchiryil who is a vicar of St Sebastian church in Kottiyoor, Kerala was accused of raping a minor girl. The sources have said that the priest always spoke against the child abuse. what a contradictory deed.
The 16-year-old victim was the student of IJM Higher Secondary School, Kottiyoor, where the said priest was serving as a manager. According to the police reports, the accused have allegedly abused the minor girl at a computer class provided by the church. Police also said a DNA test will be held on the priest to strengthen the case against him.
Police have also booked the private hospital, where the victim girl had delivered a baby, for not informing the police. “There is also an allegation that the priest tried to offer a huge amount to the victim’s family and implicate her father in the case. Since the family is from an economically weaker section he tried to implicate him and told many about this,” said deputy superintendent of police Prajeesh. The priest was in a bid of traveling to the foreign country to avoid arrest, a police officer said.
According to the sources, following the incident of 16-year-old girl gave birth to a baby at a private hospital, the accused had shifted both the mother and the newborn to an orphanage in north Kerala’s Wayanad to hush up the incident. He has been taken him into custody late on Monday after the girl narrated the incident to officials of child line, a telephone helpline for children in distress. Childline officials then informed the police.
According to another report, after shifting the mother and child to the orphanage the priest offered a sum of Rs 10 lakh to the family of the victim to hush up the matter. Another most shocking thing revealed by the local TV channel in Kerala according to which the girl reportedly mentioned her own father is being responsible for her pregnancy! “The priest also made an attempt to implicate the girl’s father in the case. Since the family is from an economically weaker section he tried to implicate him and told many about this,” a police officer said.
According to news reports, the priest enjoys clout within the Church hierarchy and politically. This isn’t the first time that controversy has followed this priest. According to the statements given by other priests in secrecy to local TV channels such as Asianet News channel, complaints had come up several times, particularly in the context of nursing students but these complaints were reportedly hushed up because of his clout.
Police said the priest has been booked under the POCSO Act since the girl is a minor and rape charges. The newborn, who was admitted to a private orphanage at Vythiri, was shifted to a government-run orphanage in Kannur said by one who is investigating the case. The Mananthavady diocese, which Fr Robin belongs to said he has been removed from all religious duties. He has also been suspended from exercising his priestly ministry, including the celebration of the Holy Sacraments and preaching in public, either inside or outside the diocese, they added. Reacting to the incident, the Syro Malabar Church spokesperson said, “It is an unfortunate incident. The church has suspended him and removed him from all posts.”
However, the root of a serious problem remains unsolved – what happens to offenses committed by those holding responsible positions in religious institutions? For strengthening the safety of minors and women, the need of the hour is to have a regulatory watchdog to keep a close track to fast-track these issues, particularly when such cases involve those at the helm. After all, the law should be equal for all – a rape whether it is committed by a Catholic priest cannot be treated as ‘holier-than-thou’!