Incidence Report – Sexual Misconduct in Church – 9 July 2021 (Part-3)

Incidence 44: Rape, murder suspected in Indian Christian woman’s death 

Key Points: 

  1. The mysterious death of a Christian woman in Punjab state three months ago has taken a new turn with her family demanding exhumation of her body, saying she was raped and murdered but police covered up the case. 
  2. The family and some Christian groups plan to move Punjab High Court to exhume her body for a second post-mortem examination with experts.
  3. We believe a fresh post-mortem will be able to establish our charge,” said Minakshi Singh, general secretary of Unity in Christ, a forum of Protestant churches based in New Delhi. 

(, 10 November 2020) (News link)

Incidence 45: SC dismisses Franco’s plea again 

Key Points: 

  1. The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea to review its earlier order refusing to discharge former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping a subordinate nun.
  2. “We have perused the review petition and the connected papers. We do not find any error in the order impugned, much less an apparent error on the face of the record, so as to call for its review. The review petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde recorded in a short order on November 3.

(, 6 November 2020) (News Link)

 Incidence 46: Sister Abhaya case: Crime Branch destroyed evidence, says CBI.

Key Points: 

  1. The CBI has stated it was the Crime Branch that destroyed the evidence in connection with the Sister Abhaya case.  CBI DYSP Devarajan, who investigated the case on destruction of evidence as per court direction, informed the court that Crime Branch officer K Samuel, who probed the case, was responsible for destroying the evidence.

(, 3 November 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 47: Kerala church activist threatens nuns over Franco Mulakkal case, arrested 

  1. The Kerala police on Saturday arrested the Indian Catholic Forum general secretary Kennedy Karimpinkalay for allegedly threatening the nun and five others who stood with her in the rape case against former bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal. 
  2. In the complaint, the victim and other nuns who supported her said he was frequently posting threats and objectionable materials to portray them in bad light. Later the case was handed over to the cyber wing which arrested the church activist from his house on the outskirts of Kochi.
  3. During investigation, the cyber wing found that he was posting many messages discreetly to discredit the victim and others. A staunch supporter of Franco Mulakkal, he used to appear in TV debates representing the Indian Catholic Forum, a body associated with the Catholic church.

                  (, 31 October 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 48: Loyola College Jesuit priests involved in sexual abuse crimes get plum positions, one   of them is now principal of women’s college

  1. Rev. Fr. G. Joseph Antony Samy S.J., former principal of Loyola College accused of shielding the main perpetrator and abetting sexual harassment against a woman professor has been appointed as the principal of a woman’s college.
  2. Joseph Antony Samy has been appointed as the principal of St. Charles College of Arts and Science, Eraiyur, a women’s college located in Kallakurichi District.
  3. Back in 2013, he had forced Josephine Jeyashanthi, a professor at the Tamil department in Loyola College, to withdraw her sexual harassment complaint against Prof. S. Antony Rajarajan (known as SA Rajarajan).
  4. Joseph Antony Samy who had earlier delayed the setting up of the internal complaints committee to look into the sexual harassment charges on Antony Rajarajan, did not handover the report of the committee to the survivor – Josephine Jeyashanthi, as mandated by the Vishaka Guidelines and Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act. He had also resorted to criminal intimidation of the survivor. This same person is now the principal of an all woman’s college.
  5. The Commune investigations has also revealed that a report on Fr. Joseph Anthony Samy was submitted to the Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa at the Global Clergy Abuse summit which was held in Rome in 2019.

                 (, 30 October 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 49: No change in Catholic Church’s teachings on family life, homosexuality: Kerala Catholic   Bishops’ Council

  1. ‘The news that the Pope has justified the validity of same-sex marriage in the documentary is untrue and misleading,’ Kerala Catholic Bishops` Council (KCBC) said. Kerala Catholic Bishops` Council (KCBC) on Thursday issued a statement regarding the news that Pope Francis declared support for civil union laws for same-sex couples.
  2. The statement said that “There has been no change in the Catholic Church`s teachings on family life and homosexuality. The news that the Pope has justified the validity of same-sex marriage in the documentary is untrue and misleading.”
  3. The KCBC said the church`s position is to distinguish between homosexual tendencies and homosexual acts.
  4. “The media reports that the Pope said that those who engage in homosexual acts should be given equal legal protection. The Catholic Church does not consider the homosexual union to be a marriage,” KCBC said.To date, the Pope has not taken a stand against the Church`s doctrine of sexual morality, the statement said. 

                 (, 22 October 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 50: Pope Francis removes Polish bishop accused of sex abuse cover-up

  1. Pope Francis on Saturday permanently removed a Polish bishop who was kicked out of his diocese a few months ago pending a Vatican investigation into allegations he covered up cases of sexual abuse by his priests.
  2. The resignation of Edward Janiak as bishop of Kalisz suggests the Vatican was able to substantiate at least some elements of the accusations made in a documentary about sex abuse in Poland that has undermined the country’s influential Catholic hierarchy.

                  (, 17 October 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 51: S. Korean church suspends pastor for blessing sexual minorities

  1. The Korea Methodist Church slapped Rev. Lee Dong-hwan with a two-year suspension for giving a blessing to sexual minorities at a queer festival in August last year.
  2. The judicial committee of the Korea Methodist Church’s Gyeonggi Province branch ruled Thursday to suspend Lee from his position as a pastor at a Methodist church in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, for the next two years, effective immediately. The ruling would also bar Lee from making sermons, giving blessings and holding prayers as a pastor on behalf of the Methodist Church.
  3. Lee has been on trial since August on charges of violating church doctrine against any action supporting or agreeing to gambling, drug use or homosexuality.” Church members who violate the doctrine are subject to suspension, dismissal or excommunication.
  4. It was the first time the Protestant Church community put a person on trial for giving blessings to the LGBTQ community. The Screening Committee of the Korea Methodist Church, which accused the pastor of breaching the rule, had sought his dismissal.

                (, 15 October 2020)  (News Link)

Incidence 52: Case filed against two Chennai preachers over sexual harassment of minor girls

  1. Two staff of an international Christian organisation, Sam Jaisundar and Reuben Clement, were booked by the Chennai city police on Wednesday. This comes days after an online complaint was lodged at the Commissioner’s office over alleged misbehaviour with minor girls.
  2. The accused were booked under section 354(a) of the IPC (Sexual Harrassment) and the Information Act.On October 6, the Scripture Union lodged a complaint against the duo in Chennai, a day after suspending them for sending inappropriate messages to female students.

(, 14 October 2020) 

Incidence 53: Priest held for alleged sexual assault on woman in Kerala

  1. The Kerala police on Tuesday arrested a Christian priest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman in Idukki on Monday.
  2. Police said the priest Reji Palakkadan, also an Ayurveda practitioner, was held following a complaint filed by the woman’s parents.
  3. Palakkadan was running an Ayurveda clinic in Adimali as part of the church and the woman had visited the facility for treatment on Monday, police said. In their complaint, the parents said their daughter was assaulted by the priest in the name of treatment. The accused also threatened her not to reveal the incident to anyone. But she later narrated her plight to her parents who then filed a complaint with the police.
  4. Circle Inspector Anil George said the accused was booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty).
  5. “The accused priest was known as a doctor in the area. We will also examine his educational qualifications and other details. He will be produced in the court later in the day” George said. The church is yet to react to the incident.

               (, 13 October 2020)  (News Link)

Incidence 54: Catholic women want rape-accused Indian bishop removed from office

  1. A group of Catholic women in India have launched a campaign seeking the removal from office of a bishop facing rape charges, saying his continuation could mislead Catholics and adversely affect justice.
  2. Sisters in Solidarity, a group comprising nuns and Catholic laywomen, circulated a letter after a social media post appeared on Oct. 3 picturing Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar with Pope Francis.
  3. The post extended greetings on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, presenting Bishop Mulakkal and Pope Francis on either side of the saint’s picture.
  4. “This is sending out a wrong signal to the people of the diocese and beyond, especially in his [the bishop’s] home state of Kerala,” their letter said.

(, 8 October 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 55: Samuel Jaisunder, a clergyman suspended for sending pornographic visuals to 10 girl students.

  1. Clergy Samuel was conducting Bible classes on online at a private school in Virudhampatti, Katpadi, Vellore District.  He also created a fake ‘Twitter’ account to send visuals.  Students registered a complaint with the police.  Based on complaint, pastor was suspended.
  2. Affected students demanded the arrest of pastor.  It is learnt that he had sent pornographic visuals to students from 30 schools.  Complaints are there in respective town police stations.  Police said all such complaints against him will be co-ordinated and action will be taken against him.  
  3. Religious classes are conducted at a private school in Katpadi Virudhampattu, Vellore district. For this, Samuel Jaisunder, 50, a clergyman from Chennai, came to the school and conducted Bible classes. Corona Curfew, conducted classes online. He then created a fake ‘Twitter’ account and sent pornographic images to 10 students at the school. The student, Viruthampattu, lodged a complaint with the police.
  4. However, on behalf of the affected students, they demanded the arrest of the pastor. The pastor also sent pornographic images to students from 30 schools. There are complaints about this in the respective town police stations. All complaints will be coordinated and action will be taken against him, said police.

(, 8 October 2020)  (News Link)

Incidence 56: Pastor in Visakhapatnam attempts to rape minor

  1. Vizag police on Tuesday arrested a pastor for allegedly attempting to rape a 15 year-old girl at his residence near Vambay Colony in Gajuwaka.
  2. According to reports, the pastor and three girls visited a village on Monday and returned to the pastor’s house Tuesday morning. Two of the girls returned to their homes on Tuesday morning, while the third girl was waiting for her up.
  3. Taking advantage of the situation, the pastor allegedly molested the girl and attempted to rape her. The girl escaped and reached home, where she narrated the incident to her father. Police registered a case and arrested the pastor.

(, 7 October 2020)  (News Link)

Incidence 57: Sister Abhaya case: Kerala HC declines plea of accused to defer trial due to pandemic

  1. The court observed that the criminal proceedings of a case registered in 1992 are yet to attain finality, whether it be by reason of providence or design. The Kerala High Court on Tuesday declined the plea of the accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case to defer the examination of witnesses amidst the pandemic until further orders. The court observed that the criminal proceedings of a case registered in 1992 are yet to attain finality, whether it be by reason of providence or design.
  2. The case goes back to March 1992 when Sister Abhaya, a Catholic nun, was found dead in a water well of her convent in Kottayam.
  3. Justice VG Arun held that the trial in the case before Thiruvananthapuram CBI special court should be rescheduled to the nearest possible date and examination of witnesses conducted on a day-to-day basis as mandated under section 309(1) of CrPC.
  4. The court said if the senior counsel appearing for the accused is, for any reason, unable to be physically present in the court, cross-examination of witnesses through video conferencing should be allowed if any request is made.
  5. In such an event, a junior counsel with technical knowhow shall be permitted to be present in court to assist the senior counsel. All efforts shall be taken to maintain audio and video quality throughout the video conferencing. Any technical snag occurring during cross-examination can be brought to the notice of the special judge.

(, 6 October 2020)  (News Link)

Incidence 58: Kerala HC rejects former bishop’s plea to adjourn his trial in rape case 

  1. The Kerala High Court on Thursday rejected a petition of rape accused former bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal to adjourn the trial against him citing a big spurt in coronavirus cases in Kerala.
  2. In his plea, he said in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation his lawyers are finding it difficult to appear before the trial court in Kottayam and hearing can be resumed after two months once the situation normalises.
  3. But his plea was opposed by the prosecution saying it was part of his plan to delay the trial. It said when witnesses are facing intense animosity and danger, it will be inappropriate to adjourn the case at this juncture. The prosecution also cited his multiple attempts earlier to delay the trial. The court agreed to the contention of the prosecution and rejected Mulakkal’s plea.
  4. Following the rejection of the plea, the trial will continue in the chief judicial magistrate court in Kottayam. The court has posted the next hearing on October 5. Since proceedings are in-camera press has not been allowed to cover the trial.
  5. Mulakkal, former head of the Jalandhar Diocese was accused of raping a 44-year-old nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation between 2014 and 2016. He was arrested in September 2018, but later released on bail.
  6. The rape survivor and fellow nuns who supported her are leading a secluded life in a convent in Kottayam. There were many attempts to evict them but the High Court had intervened and directed police to give protection to them.

     (, 1 October 2020) (News Link)

Incidence 59: Japan Catholic Church sued for damages in alleged sex abuse

  1. A woman has filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Church in Japan alleging that a priest raped her four decades ago, as the church’s unfolding worldwide sexual abuse crisis gradually reaches Japan.
  2. The civil lawsuit, filed this week in Sendai District Court, seeks 56.1 million yen ($534,000) in damages. It accuses a priest, who has not been charged or penalized, as well as a bishop who counseled the woman in recent years about the alleged abuse.
  3. The suit, which also accuses the Diocese of Sendai in north-eastern Japan, says the church refused to take the complaints seriously, causing psychological pain.

(, 26 September 2020) News Link 

Incidence 60: Court restrains media from publishing trial of rape case against Franco Mulakkal

  1. A local court has restrained the print and electronic media from publishing any matter relating to the trial in the alleged rape of a nun by Bishop Franco Mulakkal, without its permission. Additional Sessions Judge Gopakumar G issued the order, restraining the media from publishing any matter relating to the trial and procedures of the case, including discussions about the evidence tendered by the witnesses, without the court”s previous permission. 
  2. The order was passed on a petition by Mulakkal, seeking in camera trial, alleging that the prosecution had leaked to the media a part of the 161 Statement of a witness before the preliminary start of the case and the media had started a discussion pertaining to various aspects of it. 
  3. The Judge said there was nothing on record to show that the prosecution had shared the 161 Statement (statement of witness recorded by police) to the media. “The statements of the witnesses are information falling within the public domain. Such statements have to be distinguished with the statement given by a victim. The bar is only in revealing the identity of the victim. There is no law that absolutely prohibits publication and discussion about the statement made by a witness other than the victim”, the court held, adding the part of the prayer seeking action against the prosecution cannot be allowed. 

                  (, 15 September 2020)  (News Link)

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