BREAKING NEWS Chief meteorologist emeritus Dick Rice passes away at age 80 Full Story

Indian nuns demand arrest of bishop accused of rape

A group of nuns in one of India's oldest Catholic communities is calling for the arrest of a bishop who has ...

Posted: Sep 11, 2018 1:53 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2018 1:53 PM

A group of nuns in one of India's oldest Catholic communities is calling for the arrest of a bishop who has been accused of raping one of the church's sisters multiple times over a two-year period.

The case in the southern state of Kerala has attracted international attention, as it is extremely rare for nuns to publicly accuse a superior of wrongdoing, let alone sexual assault.

Belief, religion and spirituality

Catholics and catholicism

Christianity

Investigations

Religious groups

Society

Arrests

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Law and legal system

Law courts and tribunals

Law enforcement

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Asia

Continents and regions

India

South Asia

Catholic Church sexual abuse

Five nuns have been protesting outside the Kerala High Court, which is hearing the case, calling for Bishop Franco Mulakkal to be arrested and the investigation to be expedited.

More than 100 citizens have come to support them since the demonstration started on Saturday, according to George Joseph, the president of the Joint Christian Council, an advocacy organization working with the nuns.

Unlike the rest of India, where Christianity remains a minority religion practiced by just 2.3% of the total population, Kerala is home to a sizable Christian community that dates back hundreds of years.

According to recent government figures, the southern state is home to more than 6 million Christians, or 19% of the total population.

The 44-year-old victim first filed a police report in June in Kochi in Kerala, accusing the bishop of raping her 13 times from 2014 and 2016. The incidents purportedly occurred in a guest house of the St. Francis Mission Home in Kerala.

Mulakkal, the bishop of Jalandhar, a city in India's northern Punjab state, denies the allegations, according to his lawyer, who told CNN his client believes the nun made up the story because she had been accused of having an affair with another man.

The Diocese of Jalandhar said the bishop was a frequent visitor to Kerala for church-related events.

"It is a fake allegation. We are all with the bishop," Father Peter Kavumpuram, a spokesperson for the diocese told CNN on Tuesday. "We are very clear regarding the conspiracy behind this. Nuns are parading outside when the investigation is going on. There is an anti-Christian movement, people are trying to manipulate the truth," he said.

Mulakkal has not been charged but authorities say they are investigating the case.

The Joint Christian Council believes police are deliberately slow tracking the investigation, and are under pressure from church leaders and politicians in the state government to drop it.

​Joseph and the Joint Christian Council filed a petition in August seeking the immediate arrest of Mulakkal and a speedy investigation to the Kerala High Court.

However, the court ruled that the current investigation was "on the right track."

"Merely because the accused is not yet arrested, it cannot be said that the investigation is not moving on the right track," the court ruled.

Authorities reject any allegations of impropriety and say the investigation has been efficient. Hari Sankar, the local district police chief, told CNN that Mulakkal would only be arrested if sufficient evidence was collected in the case.

Joseph said that the Joint Christian Council filed a new petition Monday, asking for the immediate arrest of Mulakkal, freezing his passport and checking his bank accounts to verify transactions.

The Kerala High Court is expected to rule on that petition Thursday.

The Catholic Church has been battling allegations of sexual abuse, especially against minors, for years. In an unusually blunt letter released last month, Pope Francis acknowledged that the church failed to properly address wrongdoing by its priests.

"Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated," Francis said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Columbus
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 29°
Oxford
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Starkville
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather