People throw stones only at a tree with fruits: Bishop Franco Mulakkal on acquittal

India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]

January 14, 2022

By Rickson Oommen Thiruvananthapuram

Following the acquittal in the nun rape case, a visibly relieved and emotional Bishop Franco Mulakkal burst into tears and said, “Praise the lord.”

A court in Kerala on Friday found Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal ‘not guilty’ of the charges of raping a nun in a convent in the southern state.

A visibly relieved and emotional Bishop Mulakkal, who arrived in the court to hear the verdict, burst into tears, hugged his followers and lawyers, sharing his joy over the verdict. “Praise the lord,” he said.

The priest thanked the people who had stood by him during trying times, and quoted a proverb to describe his ordeal and subsequent vindication.

“I prayed for the judgement of God to come be the judgement of the court. I am a missionary who needs to show the world that there is god and god’s power. I got a chance to do that. Irrespective of religion and caste, everyone understood that there is power in prayer. Those who love and stand by truth were with me. People will throw stone only at a tree with fruits. I am proud of that. Continue to pray,” he said following his acquittal.

Bishop Mulakkal, 57, was accused of raping the nun multiple times during his visit to a convent in Kerala’s Kottayam district when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic church.

Following a complaint by the nun, a case was registered against the bishop in June 2018. In her complaint, the survivor alleged that she was sexually abused by Bishop Franco Mulakkal between 2014 and 2016.

The Special Investigation Team which probed the case, arrested the bishop in September 2018 and charged him with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.

Trial in the case, started in November 2019, had concluded on January 10.

As the prosecution failed to produce evidence against the accused, the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Kottayam, acquitted the bishop.