On 9th April, Kerala police filed and submitted the charge sheet against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a clergyman accused of raping a nun on 14 occasions from 2014 to 2016. He was arrested last year, in September but later he was released on bail. The charge sheet was submitted by the investigating officer of the case before the judicial first class magistrate court at Pala.
This is the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in India in which a top clergyman is going to be tried in court over an accusation of sexual assault.
The charge sheet was filed by a special investigation team at a court in Kerala’s Pala. The special team was formed to investigate the rape charge.
Bishop Mulakka is facing charges of rape, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, and wrongful confinement and under Indian Penal Code (IPC), if Mulakkal is found guilty; he might be awarded life imprisonment or imprisonment that won’t be less than 10 years.
Last month, four Kerala nuns had met the Kottayam Superintendent of Police in order to complain about the delay in filing the charge sheet against Bishop Mulakkal, and asserted that they were “living in great fear”.
The nuns claimed that they have come under immense pressure over the past few months, as the church tried hard to separate them from the complainant nun and even served them warning notices in a supposed attempt to weaken the case. The case will go down in the collection of all recorded history as the rarest of rare case, where a bishop would be tried in court, based on the complaint of his subordinate, a nun.
Meanwhile, Father Augustine Vattoli stated that Save Our Sisters has always held and maintain that every accused needs to be treated as an accused and not protected by religion.