- The girl gave birth to a child in a private hospital last month
- The priest abused the girl when she came to attend a computer class arranged by church
- The accused used to take awareness classes on child abuse and had alerted police on a sex racket
A Catholic priest from Kerala was arrested on charges of raping and impregnating a minor girl. The 16-year-old girl gave birth to a child at a private hospital last month. The priest also made attempts to implicate the father of the girl in the case.
The accused is identified as Robin Vadakkancheril, 48, had been serving as vicar at St Sebastian's Church at Kottiyoor in Kannur. From the Syro-Malabar Catholic diocese of Mananthavady, he had also served as the director of Church-run daily Deepika and Malayalam television channel Jeevan TV. He had also worked in a college under the diocese.
The incident came to light after Childline officials questioned the girl. At first, the girl said she was abused by her father. Following this, Childline officials passed on the information to the police.
The police then conducted an initial investigation and questioned the girl. On detailed questioning, she disclosed the name of the priest and narrated the incident. Police registered a case and arrested the priest.
"The incident took place in may 2016. The parents had not filed any complaint. We acted on a tip-off from Childline officials and carried out an initial probe and found the incident to be true, " police officials said.
The girl used to visit the church as her family was living nearby. The priest allegedly raped her in his bedroom at the parsonage attached to the church, as she came to attend the computer class provided by the church.
The minor told Childline officials that she was in trauma for last two years and the priest threatened her not to reveal the incident to anyone.
The priest abused the girl only once, police quoted her saying.
Her parents came to know about the issue only late as she used to attend school regularly and wore her uniform in a manner that no one noticed that she was pregnant. Fearing social stigma, parents also chose to keep silence.
"The priest also tried to implicate the father of the girl in the case. As the family is from an economically weaker section, the priest tried to implicate them and told about the incident to several persons," police said.
The girl gave birth to the child in a private hospital three weeks ago, and the newborn was handed over to a private orphanage in Wayanad. Later, after registering the case, the infant was given to a government-run orphanage in Kannur.
Police said a DNA test would be held to ascertain to the strength of the case. He has been charged under various provisions of IPC and Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Posco). The private hospital, where the girl delivered the baby, is also booked for not informing the police.
The spokesperson of Mananthavady diocese said the priest as been taken out of all religious duties. His photograph and name had been removed from the website of the diocese.
Incidentally, the priest used to take awareness classes on child abuse and had alerted police about a sex racket that was operating from the region.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:39 PM IST