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Sex for silence: 5 Kerala priests accused of sexually exploiting woman; crime branch to probe

The priests were allegedly blackmailing the mother-of-two using the secret confessions that she had made to them on various occasions

June 29, 2018 / 01:34 PM IST

The Crime Branch will now investigate allegations of sexual assault against at least five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala, news agency ANI has reported.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which recently won a century-old battle against the Syrian Jacobite Church, is now caught in the eye of the storm after five priests have been named for sexually exploiting one of the members of the Niranam diocese in central Travancore.

The issue had come to light last month when a man complained to the diocesan head that at least five priests have been sexually exploiting his wife, who was also a mother to two children. He said the priests blackmailed his wife using the secret confessions she had made to them on various occasions. ‘Confession’ is regarded as one of the seven sacraments of the Church.

The man said he got to know about this when he accidentally checked his wife’s emails only to find hotel bills mailed to her. When he questioned his wife, she told him that she was being blackmailed and forced to offer sexual favours by a priest to whom she had once confessed of having a pre-marital relationship with another priest of the Church, who was also her relative and neighbour.

According to the husband, she named five priests – four belonging to the Niranam diocese, and one belonging to the neighbouring diocese of Thumpamon. He produced a statement from his wife to buttress the same. However, the issue remained within the diocesan authority, which suspended and defrocked the priests, The Hindu has reported.

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However, church activists are alleging that the Church is trying to protect the accused clergy, adding that “sexual abuse cases involving the clergy are on the rise in Kerala”, Firstpost reported. The report has cited the recent instance of a Catholic priest from Pala diocese in Kottayam district raping a 42-year-old Bangladeshi native.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 29, 2018 01:34 pm

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