A Roman Catholic diocese in southern India is considering using security cameras and other measures to curb sexual abuse by priests after a vicar was arrested on charges of raping a teenage girl, a spokesman said Thursday.
The bishop of the Mananthavady Diocese has also removed the
Reverend Robin Vadakkancheril from his job as vicar of St. Sebastian
church in Kottiyoor and from conducting any priestly functions, said the
Reverend Nobel Parackal, a media officer for the diocese in Kerala state.
Vadakkancheril was arrested late last month after a 17-year-old girl
from his parish gave birth to a baby. Investigating officer Sunil Kumar
said police are searching for at least five nuns who allegedly helped
the priest cover up the rape and subsequent pregnancy.
Kumar said the girl, after initially refusing to name the father of
the baby, said the priest had raped her in the place where the church
provided computer lessons.
Kumar said the girl's family was bitterly poor. Her child has been
placed in a local orphanage and the girl is being looked after by the
town's child welfare committee, he said.
Parackal said there were no previous complaints on record against Vadakkancheril.
Sexual violence against girls and women is endemic in India and the
shame associated with such incidents makes victims and families hide the
The girl never told her family about the rape and when her
pregnancy became apparent her parents never made a complaint.
protection group tipped off the police after the teenager gave birth at a
local hospital, Kumar said.
The case is one of several in which Indian priests have been accused
of abusing minors, indicating that scandals that have convulsed the
Catholic Church in the United States, Europe and Latin America have not
In 2011, the Asian bishops' conference convened a special
meeting on abuse and warned that “drastic and immediate measures” were
needed to deal with the issue.