Kerala Pastor Gets 40-years Rigorous Imprisonment for Sexual Abuse of Minor

March 2, 2016

The focus around the world and in India currently is on sexual abuse of minors by priests. In a landmark judgement in Kerala, a pastor received a 40 year rigorous imprisonment for such a crime. On Tuesday, a court in Thrissur sentenced pastor Sanil K James, 35, accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old schoolgirl, to 40-year rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 20,000.This was done under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) judgement by the Thrissur 1st Additional Sessions Court.

The New Indian Express states that since he has to undergo two 20-year terms concurrently for his offences under IPC 376(2)(f) and POCSO section 6, he will have to serve a 40-year term in prison. The reports states that the court found him guilty "under POCSO Section 5 which deals with penetrative sexual assaults of very serious nature perpetrated on children below the age of 12 by heads of religious organisations, teachers, parents, relatives, and police force members."

The daily adds that under the provisions of CrPC 357(a), Rs 3,00,000 will have to be paid to the victim from the Victim Compensation Fund of the state government. POCSO special prosecutor Pious Mathew was quoted as saying that the maximum punishment is meant to be a deterrent against such crimes and this was a unique sentence.

The pastor, Sanil James was employed as a pastor of the Salvation Army Church in Peechi. He reportedly assaulted a girl near his residence in April 2014. Ollur Circle Inspector Umesh field the chargesheet against him. Mathew was quoted as saying that another case related to sexual assault on an under-aged SC/ST girl has been registered against him and that trial was yet to commence. The Child Welfare Committee had filed a complaint against the pastor and the police were investigating.








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