Catholic bishop in India arrested after being accused of raping nun


Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been accused of raping a nun a number of occasions between 2014 and 2016 in a case that has drawn widespread consideration in India, the place it stays uncommon for members of the church to accuse senior clergy of wrongdoing publicly.

Vijay Sakhare, inspector common of police of Kochi Vary, Kerala, confirmed the arrest.

CNN has reached out to Mulakkal’s diocese for remark however has not acquired a reply. Representatives for Mulakkal instructed CNN final week the bishop is harmless.

“It’s a pretend allegation. We’re all with the bishop,” the Rev. Peter Kavumpuram, a spokesman for the diocese, instructed CNN. “There may be an anti-Christian motion; individuals are making an attempt to control the reality.”

The information comes after days of protests by nuns calling for Mulakkal’s arrest.

Police had earlier stated they had been in search of extra proof earlier than making an arrest.

“After our investigation, we have now sufficient proof that the bishop, prima facie, has dedicated the crime,” Sakhare stated, including that Mulakkal, who has not been charged, will seem in Justice of the Peace courtroom Saturday.

The Joint Christian Council, an umbrella group of impartial church teams, accused the police of intentionally placing the investigation on a gradual observe below stress from church leaders and state politicians.

The 44-year-old nun, who has not been named, first filed a police report in June, accusing Mulakkal of raping her 13 occasions between 2014 and 2016. She alleged the abuse occurred whereas Mulakkal was staying in Kerala in a visitor home belonging to the St. Francis Mission Residence.

Mulakkal is the bishop of Jalandhar, a metropolis in India’s northern Punjab state. His diocese stated the bishop was a frequent customer to Kerala for church-related occasions.

Earlier this month, an advocacy group filed a petition on behalf of the nun, asking for the speedy arrest of Mulakkal, but the Kerala High Court declined to intervene, saying the delay in bringing fees was comprehensible given the period of time that has handed because the alleged abuse.
Reporters gather around a police vehicle as they cover the investigation.

It was the second time in two months the nun’s supporters had unsuccessfully petitioned the courtroom to intervene, resulting in renewed accusations that state politicians and Catholic leaders had been working behind the scenes to suppress the case.

The Catholic Church has been battling allegations of sexual abuse all over the world, particularly in opposition to minors, for years. In an unusually blunt letter launched final month, Pope Francis acknowledged the church had traditionally failed to handle correctly the wrongdoing by monks.

Christianity is a minority faith in India, practiced by 2.3% of the inhabitants, in keeping with the newest census knowledge, however Kerala is dwelling to a large Christian group that dates again lots of of years. The bulk are Catholics.

In line with latest authorities figures, the southern state is dwelling to greater than 6 million Christians, or 19% of the inhabitants. Communities there draw their heritage from Thomas the Apostle, who’s historically believed to have traveled to India to evangelise the gospel within the first century.

CNN’s Sugam Pokharel and Jonny Hallam contributed to this report.

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