TIRUVALLA: The sexual abuse case rocking the Malankara Orthodox Church is perhaps the first in the country where four Christian priests are involved in a single such case. Though five priests were initially accused of sexually abusing a woman after threatening to reveal her confession secrets, one was excluded due to lack of primary evidence, said police officers.
The case came to light in the second week of June when a telephonic conversation between higher authorities of the Church and the victim’s husband was leaked on social media. The husband had approached the Church officials to remove the priests who were allegedly involved in sexual abuse. The conversation also revealed the details and phone numbers of the priests.
Following growing demand from the laity and the public, the Church authorities constituted an inquiry commission to probe the issue. It collected the statement of the complainant - the husband - on June 28. The police registered a case on July 2 against the four priests. The victim gave her statement before the magistrate court here on July 3.
National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma visited the victim and her husband on July 7. The victim informed that she was sexually abused by the priests.
The controversy has come as a big jolt for the clergy as it has led to a public debate on social media. “After this incident, we are inviting curious looks from members of the public,” said one of the priests of the Catholic Church.