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Kerala nun rape case story, bishop Franco Mulakkal latest news

Kerala nun rape case story, bishop Franco Mulakkal latest news
Bishop Franco Mulakkal in Kochi, India, in 2018, following a police interrogation.

An Indian Bishop Is Acquitted of Sexually Abusing a Nun.

The bishop, Franco Mulakkal, was accused of abusing the nun frequently over a two-year period in the southern state of Kerala.

A Catholic bishop charged of repeatedly raping a nun in southern India over a two-year period was acquitted on Friday, putting a stop to what appeared to be the country's first such case.

The bishop, Franco Mulakkal, had maintained his innocence throughout his trial, which began in 2020. "Praise the Lord," he said following the verdict in the Kerala town of Kottayam.

According to news sources, the judge presiding over the trial, G. Gopakumar, stated that prosecutors had failed to prove their case. Kerala's investigating officers stated that the decision would be appealed to a higher court.

Tight security was deployed outside the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court on Friday morning.
Tight security was deployed outside the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court on Friday morning.

The case, believed to be India's first in which a bishop was charged with raping a nun, exposed the country's Catholic Church's deep divisions. The church reacted slowly to the nun's allegations against Bishop Mulakkal, and only after five of her sister nuns publicly supported her.

Father Augustine Vattoly, who assisted in organizing a group involved in the Kerala protests, stated that the nuns had not abandoned their cause.

"The judgement has come as a huge, huge shock to us," Father Vattoly explained. "However, we will continue our fight against the church's infamous system, which lends its support to perpetrators of injustice such as Franco Mulakkal."

The nun, a member of the religious order Missionaries of Jesus, first made her allegations to church authorities in January 2017. She made contact with almost a dozen church leaders, including bishops, a cardinal, and Vatican diplomats.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Catholic Church was acquitted by a Kerala court on Friday.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Catholic Church was acquitted by a Kerala court on Friday.

The nun's family stated in official police charges that the assaults occurred at her convent, the St. Francis Mission Home, in Kerala, a state that is home to a sizable portion of India's 20 million Catholics.

Bishop Mulakkal was removed from his administrative duties in the northern Indian city of Jalandhar shortly before he was arrested and temporarily jailed in September 2018. He was charged formally in April 2019, only weeks after Pope Francis recognized that sexual abuse of nuns by priests remained a persistent problem in the church.

Between 2014 and 2016, the bishop was charged with raping the nun nine times on visits to Kerala. Additionally, he was charged with intimidation, illegal imprisonment, and unnatural intercourse.

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