KOCHI: Fr Robin Vadakkumcheril, the former Vicar at St. Sebastian Church, Kottiyoor, who was convicted of raping and impregnating a minor girl, has approached the Kerala High Court seeking interim bail for two months to marry the victim, who is now 20.
Robin said that the Pope had dispensed him from all priestly obligations including celibacy, hence there was no impediment to the marriage. According to him, their child Dominic Savio is now three years old and in the custody of St Angelo's Foundling Home, Kannur under the supervision of the Child Welfare Committee.
The POCSO special court in Thalassery had awarded him 20 years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 3 lakh. According to the prosecution, in May 2016, he induced the victim to go to his bedroom. Thereafter he committed rape and sexual assault against the victim. As a result, the victim became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy on February 2, 2017.
In the petition, Robin stated that though family members of him and the victim have repeatedly approached the Child Welfare Committee seeking custody of the child, it was denied as they are not married. The Committee further stated that the father of the child being a prisoner, the custody application cannot be considered on merits. "Upbringing in an orphanage away from parental care would certainly traumatize the child," Robin stated in the petition.
According to him, he still loves her and is desirous of leading a family life with her and the child. "It is true that the priesthood was an impediment to the marriage. However, on a request placed before the Pope, the holy father has dispensed me from all priestly obligations including celibacy. That apart, in order to ensure the welfare of the child and also to protect my future, the permission of the court is needed to get married, during the pendency of the appeal. Solemnization of our marriage, at the earliest, would help us obtain joint custody of the child from the orphanage home," he stated.
The court will consider the case on July 24.