KOCHI: The statement of the victim in the rape case involving priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church revealed the priests threatened and sexually abused her. While dismissing the bail pleas of the priests, the High Court cited the victim’s statement. The court noted the survivor was subjected to sexual abuse by the first accused Fr Sony Varghese from November 1999 on a false promise to marry her.
It continued till the priest’s marriage to another woman in 2002, following which he and the victim had no contact until 2005. When the survivor met Fr Sony again, she was asked to come to a school at Tiruvalla, where he was working. She alleged Fr Sony threatened to expose her if she did not heed his wishes to have a relationship. She claimed she was subjected to sexual abuse inside the school where he was working. This continued even after the victim’s marriage in 2006.
The second accused – Fr Job Mathew – was a vicar of a church and the survivor had divulged her relationship with Fr Sony during confession. Later, Fr Job threatened to reveal her confessional secrets to her husband. She was subject to sexual abuse by him on more than one occasion by summoning her to an institution being managed by Fr Sony. She alleged the second accused used to speak about sexual activities over the phone and the abuse continued till 2012.
The third accused – Fr Johnson V Mathew was the victim’s senior in college. He got in touch with her and started contacting her through WhatsApp. He allegedly morphed her face onto a nude picture of another woman and threatened to circulate it on the web. She was taken in a car and was subjected to sexual assault by the third accused.
In the meanwhile, she received a friend request from the fourth accused – Fr Jaise K George, a counsellor. She decided to disclose the details of her past to him. However, in the course of time, he threatened to expose her past and sexually abused her on his visit to Kerala.
She was also made to send her nude pictures and videos and stay together at a five-star hotel in Kochi on more than one occasion till January 2018. She was also made to pay the bill for the stay, the statement said.