THRISSUR:The 35-year-old pastor who was arrested on Saturday night on charges of sexually abusing two minor girls on their house premises in Peechi, was remanded in judicial custody on Sunday. The priest, Sanal K James, a native of Kottayam, was booked under relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Section 376 of IPC (Punishment for rape).
According to police, Sanal had been sexually abusing the two minors studying in the 7th standard, for quite sometime. The sexual abuse came to light after one of the girls confided in her teacher during a student counselling programme at school. The headmaster then informed the police, who later arrested Sanal from his quarters while he was trying to flee from the spot.
The police said he used to visit the Peechi-Payakandam migrant colony and conduct religious programmes for around 12 families in the colony. Since he was a respected person in the area, people had given him the liberty to visit the houses anytime he wanted even in the absence of elders. Taking advantage of this freedom, he betrayed the trust and misused his position of a pastor by sexually abusing two girls and then threatening them with dire consequences if the matter was revealed to anyone.
The victims said that they had not complained against him as he was as a representative of God according to them.
When one of the victims shared her experience with the other girl, she also admitted that the pastor used to abuse her in the absence of her parents.
The accused was arrested after the two girls were sent for a medical examination. This is the second such incident by a clergyman reported in the district recently which is quite shocking and depressing.