Kerala priest accused of rape surrenders, being questioned

Kerala woman testifies on priest's alleged rape

Fr Job Mathew (40) of Panthaplavu turned up at Kollam city police assistant commissioner's office in the morning at around 10.30am and surrendered. While one has surrendered, three others are on the run say sources.

Kerala police have registered a rape case against another priest belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which is already reeling under allegations of sexual abuse against four of its priests. Job Mathew is arraigned as the second accused in the case.

In her statement to the police, the woman said Father Varghese first assaulted her during a prayer meeting when she was just 16. When she revealed this to another priest, he allegedly also started abusing her and passed the information to three other priests.

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"They (the clergymen) were in a position of dominance over the victim and by exploiting the said status, they are alleged to have sexually abused her". She was threatened even after her marriage and sexually abused. Though the woman's husband had initially named five priests, police booked four after recording her statement.

While rejecting their bail the court observed that they appeared to have "acted as predators". "The reasonable possibility of accused to obstruct justice, can not be brushed aside". In their bail applications, the priests rejected the woman's allegations that they had sexually assaulted her. The Malankara Orthodox church has asked them to surrender after the court rejected their bail pleas. When questioned, his wife told him how she was abused over the years by the priests who were allegedly blackmailing her over a confession she made in the church a decade ago, the Indian Express newspaper said. They alleged that the case was registered against them "solely at the instance of the political pressure exerted by certain vested interests to derive political mileage".

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