Audio tape reveals cardinal told Kerala nun not to file rape plaint against Bishop
TV channels in Kerala on Thursday aired a purported conversation in which Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal Mar George Alencherry is heard dissuading the nun, who has accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape, from filing a police complaint.
The conversation on a four-minute audio tape surfaced a day after Alencherry told investigators that he had not received any sexual assault complaint from the nun. Hindustan Times could not independently ascertain the authenticity of the audio-taped conversation.
But the 43-year-old nun is heard complaining against Mulackkal in the purported conversation that took place in December, six months before she registered a police complaint, accusing Mulakkal of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2106.
Alencherry is heard saying on the purported tape that he will say he was unaware of any complaint if the police approached him. He is heard advising the nun to settle everything on her own and not to drag others into it.
Syro-Malabar Church spokesman Father Jimmy Poochakkat admitted the two spoke in December, but insisted the audio taped conversation had been edited to defame the church.
“It seems the conversation is not complete. It is being used to show the church in a bad light.”
Alencherry reiterated he had never received any sexual abuse complaint from the nun when Vaikkoam deputy superintendent of police K Subhash-led police team recorded his statement.
“The cardinal had informed us that the nun had told him about some issues at her convent. However, he did not receive any complaint of sexual assault,” said Subhash.
The nun has maintained she was forced to approach the police after many including Alencherry ignored her complaints. The nun’s father and brother also claimed to have complained to the church superiors.
The nun, who is also a mother superior, is a Punjab-based Missionaries of Jesus congregation member. She was heading one of the two convents the congregation runs in Kerala.
She alleged Mulakkal had raped her at the convent’s guest house. The police are yet to question Mulakkal, who has pleaded innocence saying he was being implicated for exposing financial irregularities at the convent. The police have found he was at the convent when the nun was allegedly raped after checking the visitors’ diary.
The police have recorded the nun’s statement before a magistrate court. They have also rec- orded statements of other nuns and employees at the convent.