Court declines to intervene in case of Indian bishop accused of raping nun

An Indian court has declined to intervene in the case of a Catholic nun who says she was raped multiple time...

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 11:57 AM
Updated: Sep 13, 2018 11:57 AM

An Indian court has declined to intervene in the case of a Catholic nun who says she was raped multiple times over a two year period by a bishop, charges he denies.

The case has attracted significant media attention in India, where it remains extremely rare for members of the church to publicly accuse a superior of wrongdoing.

Belief, religion and spirituality

Catholics and catholicism

Christianity

Religious groups

Society

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Decisions and rulings

Investigations

Law and legal system

Trial and procedure

Arrests

Criminal law

Law enforcement

Policing and police forces

Law courts and tribunals

The ruling comes after an advocacy group filed a petition on behalf of the victim in the Kerala High Court Monday, asking for the immediate arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The group, the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCCRM), which is part of an umbrella body of independent groups called the Joint Christian Council, as well as some of the nun's sisters, have accused police of dragging their feet in the investigation due to pressure from local politicians and church leaders. Police deny those allegations and say the investigation is moving ahead.

The court will now review the investigation on September 24.

This is the second time in two months the nun's supporters have petitioned the Kerala High Court to intervene in the case, and both requests have been denied.

The court said Thursday it's understandable that the investigation has taken so long given that two years have passed since the alleged sexual assaults, according to Sandhya Raju, a lawyer working on behalf of the victim for KCCRM.

The 44-year-old nun, who has not been named, first filed a police report in June in Kochi in Kerala, accusing Mulakkal of raping her 13 times from 2014 and 2016. The incidents purportedly occurred while Mulakkal was staying in Kerala in a guest house belonging to the St. Francis Mission Home.

Mulakkal currently serves as the bishop of Jalandhar, a city in India's northern Punjab state.

Representatives for Mulakkal told CNN earlier this week that the Bishop is innocent.

"It is a fake allegation. We are all with the bishop," Father Peter Kavumpuram, a spokesperson for Mulakkal's 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.

Christianity is a minority religion in India, practiced by just 2.3% of the total population, but 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.

Ongoing case

Police have said they are looking for more evidence before making an arrest, as it is only the victim's word against the accused.

But because the purported incidents happened more than two years ago, police will have trouble finding any hard evidence, said Jayna Kothari, an attorney and the director of the Center for Law and Policy Research in Bangalore.

"In a rape case, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the testimony of the victim should be enough. The problem is that although the criminal procedure court does not give any time limit to file a case, the general practice is that the police become very reluctant to take a criminal complaint if it's filed after a long time," Kothari said.

"Her testimony should be enough, but in practice, if it happened a long time ago, the police try to use that to say we don't know if this person is lying or telling the truth, we want to do more investigations."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 34830

Reported Deaths: 2143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9900581
Lake3639190
Allen166269
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph128634
Hendricks117171
Hamilton116293
Johnson1115109
Madison59359
Porter54328
Bartholomew51535
Clark50541
LaPorte43824
Howard41528
Tippecanoe4143
Jackson3921
Delaware38539
Shelby37322
Hancock34027
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Vanderburgh2822
Morgan28024
Montgomery24517
Noble23721
White2378
Clinton2331
Decatur22431
Grant21323
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18411
Greene16925
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Warrick16628
Monroe16612
Lawrence16524
Kosciusko1501
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Jennings1304
Orange13022
Scott1203
Marshall1112
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Carroll932
Daviess9216
Wayne855
LaGrange842
Steuben842
Wabash792
Fayette787
Newton7810
Jasper681
Jay530
Washington521
Clay511
Fulton491
Randolph483
Rush472
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley433
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Perry330
Brown331
Wells320
Benton310
Huntington282
Knox280
Blackford262
Tipton251
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Adams171
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 121234

Reported Deaths: 5412
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook784953658
Lake8408292
DuPage7765374
Kane6404178
Will5613277
Winnebago229055
McHenry158572
St. Clair115282
Kankakee91548
Kendall80419
Rock Island66124
Champaign6457
Madison59460
Boone46317
DeKalb4184
Sangamon35029
Jackson28910
Randolph2694
Peoria2389
McLean22013
Ogle2113
Stephenson2092
Macon19419
Clinton18617
Union15511
LaSalle15313
Whiteside14213
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Out of IL1181
Warren1170
Jefferson10116
Knox1010
Grundy992
Monroe9612
Unassigned930
McDonough8911
Lee811
Cass730
Tazewell735
Henry690
Williamson672
Pulaski560
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry410
Vermilion401
Montgomery391
Morgan361
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Woodford212
Ford201
Menard200
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock170
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Logan110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Johnson90
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
Wabash50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Robinson
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 79°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Casey
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 76°
Brazil
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Marshall
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Sunny and Hot!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events