KOCHI/KOTTAYAM: Five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church (MOC) have been directed to keep away from their official duties following a complaint from a believer alleging they have been blackmailing his wife for sexual favours. Alarmingly for the MOC, the charge is confessional matter was used for initial blackmailing. However, no police complaint has been filed in connection with the incident. In his complaint to the MOC headquarters at Devalokam, Kottayam, the husband contended his wife was sexually preyed upon by the priests who used her intimate pictures to subjugate her.
MOC spokesperson P C Elias said, “The woman’s husband has levelled serious allegations. An inquiry will be conducted and future course of action will be decided based on the report.” The probe is being currently carried at the diocese-level. “As of now, we are not brushing aside the allegations or confirming it. Only a detailed probe will reveal the facts,” Elias said. While three priests belonged to the Niranam diocese in Tiruvalla, one belonged to Thumbamon in Pandalam and the fifth to Delhi.
MOC has given a directive that no priest should make any public statement on the issue.
Meanwhile, an audio clip purportedly of the woman’s husband is doing the rounds on social media. In it, the man is heard telling another person he came to know about the incident when he saw hotel bills in her e-mail account in February.
“Before our marriage, my wife was sexually abused by a priest and he continued to blackmail her even after that. She was upset and confessed her ordeal to another priest. He made sexual advancements and threatened he’ll reveal the confession details to me if she refused to cooperate. The priest also took pictures of them together and shared them with another priest who, in turn, threatened the pictures would be circulated if she failed to extend sexual favours to him as well. In due course, five to eight priests got involved with my wife,” the man said.