July 2, 2018
KOCHI: The Crime Branch of Kerala police booked four priests of Malankara Orthodox Church on charges of rape and molesting a housewife.
The priests – Fr. Job Mathew, Fr. Abraham Varghese, Fr. Jaise K George and Fr. Johnson V. Mathew – have been booked based on the affidavit submitted by the victim.
A resident of Thiruvalla complained that five priests of Malankara Orthodox Church have been sexually abusing his wife for several years, following one of the offenders threatening her with one of her confessions.
The accused demanded sexual favours by blackmailing her. They threatened to tell her husband about her previous relationship.
The matter surfaced after her husband stumbled upon a bill paid for staying in a hotel in Kochi with the priests.
The victim’s husband said that he had complained to the church but it had not taken any action against the priests.
Though he had complained about five priests, case has been registered only against four, sources said.
The arrest of the priests is expected soon, sources added.
The incident came to light after an audio clip containing the victim’s husband’s purported conversation with a church official alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests was widely circulated in social media.
The man has handed over copies of evidence against the priests to the probe team.
The woman, in her affidavit, said the abuse began by Abraham Varghese when she was 16. After she got married, she made a secret confession before Job Mathews, who threatened to reveal it to her husband. Later she discussed the issue with Johnson Mathew, who morphed her picture and exploited her.
Depressed by the events, the victim went to Jaise George for counselling, who also turned out to be an abuser.