Indian Catholic bishop acquitted of rape of nun

An Indian court has convicted a Roman Catholic bishop of raping a nun at her village monastery amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Indian court acquitted a Roman Catholic bishop of raping a nun at her rural monastery sexual harassment in the church.

Conference Judge G Gopakumar said in a brief order on Friday that the bishop had not committed the charges that he repeatedly raped the nuns between 2014 and 2016.

Bishop Franco Muracar In court in the southern Indian city of Kottayam. Supporters cheered and chanted “Praise the Lord” as he left the pitch.

A detailed verdict is likely to be announced later on Friday.

Lawyer Sandhya Raju said the prosecution, representing the nuns, would appeal the verdict.

Virginia Saldanha, former executive secretary of the Women’s Committee of the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said she was shocked by the verdict.

“My first thought was that misogyny in the church won. The verdict reinforces the idea that a powerful person cannot be brought to justice,” she said.

Police charged Mulakr with rape, false imprisonment and intimidation of the nuns. She said she went to the police after complaining to church authorities multiple times.Finally, a group of nuns set off unprecedented public protest Call for Mulakr’s arrest in 2018. He was taken into custody but released on bail a few weeks later.

The nuns also wrote to the Vatican asking it to intervene. Their incitement made national headlines and divided the Hindu-majority Christian minority, who make up 2.3 percent of the population, according to census figures.

Mulakkal is the official patron of the community of nuns, missionaries of Jesus, and has a huge influence on its budget and work distribution.

Mulakkal has denied the allegations, calling them “baseless and fabricated” and saying the accusing nuns tried to pressure him to get a better job.

In her complaint, the nun accused Mulakal, then bishop of Jalandhar diocese in the northern state of Punjab, of raping her repeatedly during a visit to her monastery in Kuravilangard, Kerala state.

Kerala is considered the birthplace of Christianity in India, where the Apostle Thomas is believed to have landed in AD 52.

Sister Anupama, who leads the campaign to support the nuns, said she will continue to fight for her colleagues.

“We are not getting the justice we expected from the judiciary,” she was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

“The prosecution case is very weak and the investigation is very bad,” Bishop’s lawyer B Raman Pillai told reporters.

While the Catholic Church has been embroiled in a string of sexual abuse scandals around the world, Mulakr is the first Indian priest to stand trial.

In February 2019, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged for the first time the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops and pledged to confront the issue.