Pastor sentenced to 30-yr jail, others double lifer for raping, forcing minors into prostitution
A women’s court in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore on Monday sentenced a Christian pastor to 30-year prison term and 15 others, including eight women, to varying degrees of incarceration, for kidnapping, raping and forcing two minor girls into prostitution in 2014.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the Church of South India pastor, Aruldoss (60) of Viriddachalam in Cuddalore district, a coastal town 175 km from Chennai. Nine others were sentenced to life imprisonment.
On Friday, women’s court judge, T Lingeswaran found 16 of the 17 accused guilty of various charges, including kidnapping, besides those under the POCSO Act.
According to the prosecution, one of the victims, a 13-year-old student of Government Higher Secondary School in Thittagudi near Cuddalore, while visiting an idli shop near the school saw Tamilarasi (40), the woman who ran it having intercourse with her paramour, Anandaraj. Tamilarasi caught the girl and forced her to have sex with her paramour and then with her husband as well.
When this became a routine and unbearable, the girl pleaded to be relieved, but was told to get another one to be set free. Believing this, she brought her friend aged 14, also studying in the school. But, the gang sexually assaulted both of them and forced them to into the sex trade, taking them to various places, including the pilgrimage centre, Velankanni.
Since the girls were missing since June 8, 2014, parents of the victims approached the police and a case was registered on July 11.
The girls somehow managed to escape and landed at Thittagudi and lodged a complaint with the police, narrating their ordeal in August 2014.
Pastor Aruldoss was among those who sexually abused the girls. According to prosecution, police investigation revealed that he had a habit of forcing the victims to watch pornography before raping them.
Anbazhagan (28) of Salem, the kingpin of the gang, was given a life term and fined Rs 3.21 lakh, while Anandaraj of Thirukandeswaram was sentenced to four life terms and fined Rs 2.1 lakh. Selvaraj was sentenced to three life terms and Rs 30,000 fine. Mohan Raj and Mathivanan were sentenced to two life terms each besides a fine of Rs 2 lakh.
The judge sentenced Fathima to two life terms with a fine of Rs 4.4 lakh and the driver, Sridhar, who took the teens to various places to two life terms and a fine of Rs 4.4 lakh. Kala and Lakshmi were both awarded two life terms and a fine of Rs 4.2 lakh each.
Public prosecutor K Selvapriya told the media that Tamilarasi, the idli shop owner, and her husband Satheesh have been absconding after jumping bail.