The Hindu [Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India]
July 26, 2022
By Special Correspondent
Incident took place on a church premises when the victim was 10 years old
The city police, acting on directions from the National Human Rights Commission, have booked eight persons, including a church priest and a teacher, for sexually abusing a minor girl a decade ago.
The East Division Women Police Station has registered a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, for rape and outraging the modesty of a woman under the Indian Penal Code. The sexual abuse reportedly took place on a church premises when the victim was 10 years old.
The victim, who is now aged 20 and pursuing her studies in a city-based college, was under treatment over the trauma she suffered due to the sexual abuse. She recently shared her ordeal with her sister, who approached NHRC, which directed the city police to register a case and probe the matter.
City Police Commissioner tasked the Yelahanka police to investigate the case. However, they issued a notice to the victim to record her statement within three days and allegedly threatened to close the case if she failed to do so. Worried about the development, the victim with the help of her lawyers, approached DCP (East), who directed the East Division Women Police to register a case and investigate.
The victim, in her complaint, said that her parents were attached to the church and used to go out often on work and would drop her at the church or their friend’s house. When she was 10 years old, the prime accused in the case, who was a priest, raped her on the church premises and forced her to watch objectionable photos to sexually harass her repeatedly. The accused threatened her not to reveal this to others. However, unable to bear the harassment, the victim told her school teacher, who called the priest and advised him against it. But the teacher also joined in and started sexually harassing her later. The victim has alleged in her complaint that the teacher has also sexually harassed other students.
The victim even told her parents who were shocked but asked her to pardon them and move on. Due to this, the victim went into depression and was under treatment until she recently narrated her ordeal with her sister, who stayed in the neighbouring State. The police have now subjected the victim to medical examination and produced her before the magistrate to give her statement for further investigation. The six others who are booked are those who knew about the case, did not act and indirectly supported the accused to continue with their acts, the victim, said in her complaint.