THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Crime Branch has registered cases against four priests belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church for sexually harassing a woman after threatening to leak her confession secrets. Father Job Mathew has been named the first accused. Abraham Varghese, Jais K George, and Johnson V Mathew are the others arraigned. As per the woman’s complaint, she had confessed to Job Mathew in 2009.
The priest used the confession secret, which as per Christian belief shouldn’t be revealed, coerced the woman to sleep with him after threatening he will leak the information to her husband. The confession secret was then relayed onto other priests who also blackmailed the woman and forced her to maintain a physical relationship with them. FIRs have been registered against the four as their names were mentioned in the victim’s complaint.
The issue came to limelight when a voice clip of the victim’s husband was circulated on social media platforms, in which he was heard speaking to another person about his wife’s ordeal. The allegation kicked up a storm and the Orthodox Church was caught in its eye, following which they forced the clergymen under the scanner to go on leave. Initially, the police were also non-committal on the case, but with queries coming from the National Women’s Commission, they were forced to shed lethargy and a Crime Branch probe was ordered by State Police Chief Loknath Behera on Friday.