Pastor of Seawoods church arrested for molesting minor girls
A pastor of a church in Seawoods has been arrested by NRI Coastal police following a complaint registered by Thane District Women and Child Welfare Department; the accused was arrested for allegedly molesting at least three minor girls
A pastor of a Seawoods-based church has been arrested by NRI Coastal police following a complaint registered by Thane District Women and Child Welfare Department (TDWCWD).
TDWCWD has claimed that the accused allegedly molested at least three minor girls. The accused has been identified as Rajkumar Yeshudasan (50). The case was registered on Friday evening after one of the girls of the 45 children whom they rescued narrated the incidents that happened in the church wherein they were staying.
On August 5, Thane District Women and Child Protection officer, Suvarna Jadhav, along with representatives of Thane Child Welfare Committee, District Child Protection Cell and Yuva Child Line, visited Bethel Gospel Pentecostal Church at Seawoods Sector 48 based on a written letter they received.
“In the letter that we received, it was mentioned that the children in the ashram run by the church were molested,” district child protection officer, Ramkrishna Reddy, said.
During their visit, they found that 45 children between three and 18 years were housed in two small unhygienic rooms. “For health and safety reasons, the children were shifted on August 5 to different children’s homes,” Vijay Kharat from Yuva Child Line said. Of the 45 children, 12 were girls and 33 boys.
“The children belong to Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Pandharpur, Mumbai and Thane. They came here through various churches. These are children from under-privileged homes wherein the parents are unable to take care of them. Currently, all have been handed over to their legal guardians,” Pallavi Jadhav, child protection officer who is also the complainant in the case, said.
While enquiring with the children, a 14-year-old girl opened up and told that she was molested several times on the pretext of applying Vicks over her body. When she had complained to the wife of the pastor, the pastor yelled at his wife saying that he was a man of God and what he did was with good intention, the girl revealed to Jadhav.
“When resisted, she was also assaulted on several occasions. The parents of the children were strictly told that they could meet the kids only once in two months. If any parent questioned about anything, they used to be threatened that they would not get any place on land to be buried after death,” Reddy added.
The accused used to tell the victim that every child coming to stay in the church needs to apply Vicks from the hands of the pastor.
“The accused has been arrested under sections of assault and molestation of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He will be produced before the POCSO Court in Thane on Saturday,” Ravindra Patil, senior police inspector from NRI police station, said.