Police in Kerala have arrested five nuns on suspicion of covering up the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl by a catholic priest.
Father Robin Vadakkumcherry, parish priest of St Sebastian church in
north Kerala’s Kannur district, was arrested on February 27 while
allegedly planning to flee the country.
He is accused of raping the
teenage girl, who gave birth in a private hospital on 17 February.
The five nuns, along with two doctors, have been booked under
non-bailable sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act
and Juvenile Justice Act, a member of Kerala’s police force told
During their investigations police found evidence of an alleged
attempt to cover up the whole incident and bail out the priest. The
girl’s father, who belongs to an economically backward family, was
promised around £12,000 (Rs 10 lakh) to own up to the crime.
Among the accused is the doctor in-charge of the private hospital in
the Kerala district, where the 17-year-old girl gave birth to a boy.
Although the hospital has claimed it was unaware of the rape, police
reportedly found that at least two doctors knew about the incident.
Two days after the delivery, the baby was discreetly moved to an
orphanage run by nuns. The Mother Superior in charge of the orphanage is
among the accused.
Instead of reporting the incident, all the accused
entered into a conspiracy to hush up the case, police claimed.
The Mananthavady diocese, under which the accused priest worked, has
released an apology to the girl and her family, reports the catholic
news service UCAN India.
“I endure your pain and agony. And I am also in pain,” said Bishop Jose Porunnedam in a statement.
“The loss of self-respect and spiritual damage caused to the church
by this incident is huge. I don’t know how to pacify the child and her
parents. I too join in their tears. I can only apologise to you,” the
Soon after the incident came to light, the diocese had removed the priest from all posts.
A police report has been submitted to the Kerala State Commission for
Protection of Child Rights.
The report recommends action against the
Child Welfare Committee of Wayanad district for concealing details of
the newborn from the authorities, reports the Hindustan Times.
The case came to light last week following an anonymous call that a
17-year-old schoolgirl gave birth and that the Catholic church
authorities in Wayanad were doing their best to cover up the case.
Following the arrest of Vadakkanchery, who also was the manager of
the Church-backed school where the girl was a student, police opened
investigations into the hospital authorities and the orphanage run by
the Catholic church.