KANNUR: A Catholic priest, who was also the rector of a seminary in Kannur district, was arrested by the Iritty police for alleged sexual assault on a 21-year-old seminarian who was undergoing training under him at the institution.
Fr James Thekemuriyil (41) from Ulikkal was arrested by a police team led by Circle Inspector Sajesh Vazhalappil from Bangalore on Monday based on the complaint lodged by the seminary student.
The alleged sexual assault took place When Fr Thekemuriyil was the rector of Deiva Matha Seminary at Iritty.
The seminary is under an Italian Congregation. According to the complaint filed by the seminary student, the rector sexually assaulted and attempted to have unnatural sex with him.
“Fr James was expelled from the seminary following the student’s complaint. We took him into custody from Bangalore where he was working as a guest lecturer in another institution,” said CI Sajesh.
The police have registered a case under Section 377, 342 and 506 of the IPC. After presenting him in the court, he was remanded in judicial custody.
Police have launched a detailed probe into the case as unconfirmed reports say that other students of the seminary had also raised similar complaints against the priest earlier.
It is learnt that Fr Thekemuriyil is the first and only priest of the Italian Congregation. It is also learnt that Fr Thekemuriyil’s initial attempts to become a diocese priest and member of another congregation became unsuccessful, as he was expelled from the seminary stage itself, for unknown reasons.
Finally his attempts to become a priest succeeded when he joined the Italian Congregation.