KOTTAYAM: In yet another jolt to the Church in Kerala, the Kaduthuruthy Police on Thursday lodged an FIR against a priest of Maniyamthuruthu church, Kallara, for allegedly raping a Bangladeshi at the parsonage. Fr Thomas Thanninilkumthadathil, 44, vicar, St Mathew’s Church, who is absconding, has been booked under IPC section 376 (rape) following a complaint lodged by the 42-year-old woman.
The police said she and the priest had been in touch via WhatsApp and later fell in love. As suggested by the priest, the woman, who has dual citizenship, reached the parsonage and stayed there as his guest from January 7 to 12. During the period, she was allegedly abused by him at his residence at Maniyamthruruthu and on the church premises. The woman came back with her friend on February 8.
Kaduthuruthy SI K P Tomson said, “The woman, reportedly a nursing professional, brought the matter to the attention of the diocese top brass and, as per their directive, lodged a complaint against Fr Thomas for rape on Wednesday. A search is on to nab the absconding priest.” He said the woman’s medical examination was conducted at a local hospital.
Further investigation is on. The victim’s whereabouts have been collected. Pala diocese spokesperson, Fr Mathew Chandrankunnel, said the accused priest had been removed as vicar and from the church’s other duties following the complaint. “The diocese will cooperate with the police investigation,” said Fr Mathew.