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Secret confession allegedly used to blackmail, abuse woman; 5 Kerala priests suspended

In an audio clip, the man is heard saying that his wife was sexually abused by one of the priests before she got married.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2018 22:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala priests,Kerala church,Sexual assault
A Christian church in Kerala suspended five priests over allegations that they blackmailed and sexually exploited a married woman.(HT File Photo)

A Christian church in Kerala suspended five priests over allegations that they blackmailed and sexually exploited a married woman.

The suspension came after the woman’s husband, from Thiruvalla in Kottayam district, complained to the Malankara Orthodox Church. He alleged his wife’s confession to one of the priests, supposed to be kept a secret under church laws, was used to blackmail her.

A church spokesman confirmed the priests were suspended pending an inquiry but refused to divulge their names. Police are yet to file a case since no complaint has been filed against the accused. The church sources said three of the priests belong to Niranam Diocese in Thiruvalla and the two others were from Pandalam and Delhi.

An audio clip, in which the man narrates the plight of his wife, started circulating on social media a few days ago. In the clip, the man is heard saying that his wife was sexually abused by one of the priests before she got married. The said priest made some advances towards her even after her marriage, he alleged.

He said during his daughter’s baptism, his wife confessed her ordeal to another priest. Instead of solving the problem, he too started abusing her, the Thiruvalla resident claimed. He said the second priest later passed on the information to three of his fellow priests who also allegedly exploited her. In the audio clip, the said he wanted all of the priests defrocked and not want to make his wife’s identity public so as to avoid further embarrassment.

A spokesman of the church later said some of the allegations were very old and a thorough inquiry was required to confirm their veracity. He also said the church will approach the police if the allegations had substance.

First Published: Jun 25, 2018 22:28 IST