Officials in Vadakkekkara Police station in Ernakulam have booked a case against a priest on receiving a complaint from a child welfare committee. The committee wrote a plaint about the sexual assault of three 9-year-old girls by a Kerala Catholic priest Father George Padayattil of the Syro Malabar Church in Ernakulam district.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A child welfare committee wrote a plaint about the sexual assault of three 9-year-old girls by a Kerala Catholic priest  in Ernakulam district.
  • The priest had touched the three girls inappropriately according to the police.
  • The Vicar Father George Padayattil has been booked under Section 10 and Section 11  of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. 
  • According to the police, the priest is currently absconding.

The priest the vicar of Holy Cross Church in Chendamangalam had touched the three girls inappropriately according to the police. “The incidents happened last month when the girls went to the priest’s ‘meda’, the place where he stays alongside the church, to get his blessings after Sunday rites. According to the complaint, the girls revealed that he touched them inappropriately during two such incidents,” the police official said, TNM reported.

The Vicar Father George Padayattil has been booked under Section 10 (Punishment for aggravated sexual assault) and Section 11 (Sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. According to the police, the priest is currently absconding.

The Vicar Father George Padayattil has been booked under Section 10 and Section 11  of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The incidence came to light when one of the girls reported the incident to her school teacher. “The teacher informed Childline officials and we received a complaint through the child welfare committee,” the police official noted. The three girls who are classmates are studying in the same school. Parents of the three children were informed by the school teachers who had spoken to the students.

The police further said, “The children gave their statement to the judicial magistrate under oath. The case was charged after that. We are waiting to receive a copy of the statement, following which we will increase the charges against him.”

Also read: You Couldn’t Protect Us: Gymnast Simone Biles Breaks Down

Other cases

In July, another priest in Ernakulam district belonging to Carmelites order under the diocese of Cochin, was arrested for allegedly abusing minor boys at an orphanage.

Last year a Pocso court in Thalassery in north Kerala convicted a senior priest, Robin Vadkumcharry, to double life-term for raping and impregnating a minor girl in 2016. (HT reported)

Vatican’s stand

In May, Pope Francis passed a measure to oblige those who know about sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors, following a global clerical paedophilia scandal.

Every diocese in the world was asked to have a system for the reporting of abuse, under a new law published by the Vatican

Every diocese in the world was asked to have a system for the reporting of abuse, under a new law published by the Vatican — but the requirement will not apply to secrets revealed to priests in the confessional.

It is time to learn from the “bitter lessons of the past”, Francis said in the text of the legal decree.

It follows a series of clerical assault cases in countries ranging from Australia to Chile, Germany and the US.

Earlier this year, the Pope had vowed justice for victims of clerical sex abuse, describing paedophilia as one of the “vilest” crimes. (NDTV reported)

Also read: Former Indo-Singaporean Cop Arrested For Sexually Abusing Minors

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.