Catholic priest held for sexually harassing minors – Tamil Nadu

A 65-year-old Catholic priest from the Coimbatore diocese, who was serving as the correspondent of a government-aided school in the city, has been arrested for making girl students open sexually explicit content on his mobile phone.

As per a Times of India report dated 22 Nov, 2019 –

“Police said the priest, Maria Antony Raj, who was the correspondent at St Mary’s High School on 5th Street Extension at Gandhipuram in the city, had on several occasions made girl students open sexually explicit content on his mobile phone. At least five girl students were affected.

After the girls complained, their parents had asked the school management to remove the correspondent. As he was not removed from the school, the parents approached police.

A school official said the parents had approached them on Monday and complained about the correspondent. “They again represented the issue on Wednesday and asked us to remove him,” the official said.

On Thursday, police visited the school and held inquires with the affected students, their parents, the school management and also the accused. Later the accused was taken to the All Women Police Station, Coimbatore Central, where he was booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

Deputy commissioner of police (law and order) L Balaji Saravanan told TOI that the accused was remanded in judicial custody. Police sources said further investigations were on to ascertain whether similar incidents happened at the school. The sources also said they would send the affected children to counselling and medical check-up to know whether they were under trauma.

The school’s headmistress, A C Anitha, said Raj was a retired person, who was serving as the correspondent. “He was removed from his post after the incident,” she said, refusing to elaborate further.”

Such instances of Christian pastors and priests indulging in pedophilia and other sexual crimes have been reported from around the world. It has been seen that the first instinct of the Church hierarchy is to shield the accused  and stonewall calls for action by victim families.

In developing countries like Bharat, the Church also uses its extensive clout in media & intelligentsia to censor such news, and at times uses its extensive propaganda machinery to play the victimhood card instead, projecting such accusations as ‘persecution’ of Christian believers.

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