The Kerala police arrested a pastor on Tuesday for allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old school girl inside a church, PTI reports. The girl had gone to the Church for taking Bible lessons when the crime allegedly took place, the police said.
Father Devaraj (65), of Kandanthitta CSI church (Protestant Church of South India) is the accused and he will be produced before a magistrate later in the evening, the report says.
Police said that a case under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and section 376 of IPC (rape) has been registered against the priest.
The girl’s father allegedly saw the accused harassing his daughter and informed the police. Police said that the accused has been working as a pastor in the church for the past one year.
Earlier this year, the case of a Kerala pastor who raped and impregnated a minor girl had grabbed headlines, after he managed to hide the crime for months. Police finally arrested Father Robin Vadakkanchery on February 28 after he confessed to the crime.
Father Robin was posted at the Church run by Catholic Diocese of Mananthavady (Wayanad) in Kannur district almost two-and-a-half years ago, and also served as the manager of a school attached to the church where the girl was a student.
The girl later gave birth to a baby boy on February 7 at a private hospital in Kannur. Police said that she was admitted to the hospital after she complained of stomach pain, and she delivered the baby. The girl’s parents had kept her in the dark about her delivery and told her that she was operated on for appendix.
A total of 7 people were charged in that case for helping the pastor to cover up the crime – this included staff at the hospital where the child was born, the nuns who moved the infant to a nearby foundling home and Christian clergy who were members of the Govt. appointed Child Welfare Commitee. It was also reported that other senior officials of the Catholic Church tried to hush up the crime and the priest had bribed the father of the child to own up the crime.
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