Two years after nun accuses bishop of rape, trial starts with reading of charges

Global Sisters Report of National Catholic Reporter

August 14, 2020

By Saji Thomas News

Kottayam, India – Two years after a Catholic sister accused a bishop of rape and intimidation, the official trial started Aug. 13 as a district court judge read the charges aloud to Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.

The rape case is the first one to involve a Catholic bishop in India. The trial will resume Sept. 16 with testimony from the victim and cross-examination.

Judge G. Gopakumar of the Additional District and Sessions Court in Kottayam, Kerala, read out a brief statement of charges that said Mulakkal had repeatedly raped the former superior general of the Missionaries of Jesus and intimidated her with the influence of his office.

The nun has accused Mulakkal of subjecting her to rape and sodomy 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

The judge also listed the dates of the alleged crimes in the congregation’s convent at Kuravilangad, a village near Kottayam, and asked Mulakkal if he would agree with the charges.

The prelate, who stood before the judge in the witness box at the back of the courtroom, loudly replied, “No.” His response was heard by those inside the court and about two dozen watching the proceedings from the corridor.

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