Altogether three people have surrendered before the Police for shedding the rapist of minor girl, Fr. Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril. The surrendered people includes Father Joseph Therakkam, sister Betty, sister Ophelia. These people suppose to have shielded the accused in the gruesome act, claimed the sources. One of them is also the former chairman of Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC). They have been charged with covering up the rape of a minor girl and protecting a fellow priest.    

According to the information available from the reliable sources, a catholic priest and two nuns who were accused of allegedly covering up a minor’s rape by a Kerala priest Fr. Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril have finally surrendered before the police in Kerala’s Kottiyoor on Friday. The names of those surrendered before the police are Father Joseph Therakkam, sister Betty, sister Ophelia. They have been charged with covering up for a Father Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril, who allegedly raped and impregnated a 17-year-old minor in May last year, said the sources.   

It may be recalled that the catholic priest Fr. Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril, who was also the manager of the School was arrested by the Kerala police on 28th February in connection with the raping 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 was arrested by the police for impregnating the minor girl was known for taking the stand against the child abuse. The gruesome act of priest came into the light when the 16-year-old victim gave birth to a baby at a private hospital in Kotiyaar, Kerala.                   

Fr. Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril was arrested from his place of work in Kerala. (SOURCE)

According to the sources, a Child Welfare Committee Chairman, Father Thomas Joseph Therakam and one of the committee members, Betty Jose and Superintendent of the orphanage in Wayanad Sister Ophelia, surrendered before the Peravoor Circle Inspector, Sunil Kumar, who is the Investigating Officer in the case, police said. The sources have said that the surrendered people were instrumental in shielding the accused after the matter had been surfaced when the minor gave birth to the child almost two months back at a private hospital in Kerala and the same was funded by the accused. The accused had also offered Rs. 10 lakh to the victim to conceal the matter from the public. “They surrendered at 6:30 am… they will be produced before the court in the afternoon after questioning and medical examination,” Sunil Kumar said.       

It may be recalled that the Kerala High Court had on March 14 directed the accused to surrender before the investigating officers within five days. Father Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril, who was the vicar of the local church in Kottiyoor and the prime accused in the case was arrested on February 28 on charges of sexually exploiting and impregnating a 17-year-old girl. According to the police, the girl was raped in May 2016.   

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 had allegedly abused the minor girl at a computer class provided by the church.             

Fr. Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril while taken to the courts. (SOURCE)

According to the reports, the minor victim girl gave birth to the child on February 7 at a private hospital in Kuthuparamba. The child was taken to an orphanage at Vythiri in Wayanad district. The officials of the orphanage had alleged that the CWC did not take any action even though they had been informed about the newborn on February 8, a day after the infant was admitted there. “Eight persons had been booked for their alleged role in the sexual exploitation and subsequent delivery of the baby by the girl,” police said. Later on the newborn has been taken to a special home in Kannur as per the court orders, while the minor girl, a class 11 student, is with her parents.         

According to the sources, this is not the first case of sexual abuse of the minor by priests in India. Last year in August, a Catholic priest was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing and murdering a college student in Kerala’s Palakkad district. Four other clergymen, including a bishop, were arrested for allegedly covering up the case. In May 2015, another Catholic priest in the Ernakulam district was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.

The convicted Fr Edwin Figarez, 41, of Kottappuram Catholic diocese. (SOURCE)

In yet another case in December 2016, a Special Court in Kerala had sentenced a young Catholic priest with double life imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping a minor girl. The convicted is Fr Edwin Figurez, 41, of Kottappuram Catholic diocese. He was punished under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and this was the first -time in the history of the state that a Catholic priest was punished under this act.The Court has also fined Rs 2.15 lakh. The double jail term would run concurrently. In the same case, the brother of accused was also been sentenced to one-year imprisonment on charges of helping the priest go into hiding after the police have registered a case against him in the incident April this year. Court also found guilty of a government doctor Ajitha, who had worked at a state-run-primary health center, for failing in her duty to report the sexual abuse to the concerned authorities even after she examined the victim.

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