Kerala priest convicted of rape expelled by Pope

Updated on Mar 02, 2020 12:14 AM IST

Robin Vadakkumchery was suspended from the vocation after his conviction last year.

Robin Vadakkumchery was held while he was trying to flee the country.(Photo: ANI)
Robin Vadakkumchery was held while he was trying to flee the country.(Photo: ANI)
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram | ByHT Correspondent

A senior priest in Kerala, who was sentenced to a double life term for raping a girl, has been expelled by the supreme head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, the Manathawady diocese said in a statement on Sunday.

Robin Vadakkumchery was suspended from the vocation after his conviction last year.

“The Pope had used his special powers to expel him from the clergy. He was informed about the latest decision,” the diocese’s statement said.

The church had faced severe criticism for not taking action against the priest even after his conviction in the case, which saw many twists and turns.

The case against the priest had surfaced in 2017 after the 17-year-old girl gave birth to a baby in a church-run hospital.

When the crime surfaced, the girl’s father said he had raped his daughter and was arrested. During his questioning, the police found discrepancies in his statements but after sustained interrogation, he broke down and revealed the whole story.

The priest was held while he was trying to flee the country.

The trial in the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act court in Thalassery in north Kerala witnessed more drama. The victim had told the court that she had consensual sex with the accused priest and they should be allowed to live together.

Later, her parents and many other witnesses also turned hostile.

The church drew flak for defending the accused and in one of the prayer meetings there was a call to pray for him.

The court sentenced Vadakkumchery to 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment for raping in February 2019 and slapped a fine of Rs 300,000 under various offences including rape, destroying evidence and cheating.

It had also ordered the police to book her parents.

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