10 shocking incidents of sexual abuse by Christian priests in Bharat

Hindu Post [New Delhi, IN]

October 7, 2022

By Maha Krishnan

Sexual abuse in churches is rampant across the world. While such incidents are highlighted now in Western media, it is not the case in Bharat. Whether it be sex-depraved Catholic clergy or Pentecostal pastors, women and children are preyed upon in churches across Bharat. This article lists some of the most shocking incidents among them.

1) Robin Vadakkumchery, a Catholic priest in Kerala raped a 16 year old girl studying at a school under his control. The victim conceived a child and Robin bribed everyone from her parents, hospital staff, orphanage staff and others to hide it. He infact forced the victim’s poor father to confess that he raped his daughter. He tried to flee when the incident came out and later wanted to marry the victim to escape 20 years of imprisonment.

During the hearing the victim was threatened and forced to say in court that it was consensual sex and blame the police and magistrate of extracting a fake statement from her. Local church magazine Sunday Shalom wrote an editorial blaming the victim for the crime. “Here the partner in the sin is more than 15-years-old. Considering her in my daughter’s position I am saying, daughter you too went wrong. You will be the first one answerable before god”.

“Why did you forget who a priest was? Why didn’t you know that the sanctity of a priest is equal to the holiness of Jesus’s heart? He has a human body, he can get temptations. If he might have forgotten that for a few seconds, my child who has taken the Holy Communion, why didn’t you stop or correct him?” the article reads.

There were also allegations of Robin abusing underage girls when he was attached to the St De Paul Church in Kalpetta. The church is also alleged to have paid the victims to maintain secrecy and deter them from filing charges. That the church helped hush up these allegations is what emboldened him to keep indulging in pedophilia. Later the Kerala High Court reduced his sentence to 10 years.

2) In another horrendous incident from Andhra Pradesh, a Christian cult pastor sexually exploited 17 women in four years. The pastor used to threaten them by saying that their family would face dire consequences if they tried to leave the premises. Apart from the women, seven boys were kept there forcibly and made to work as slaves and were also tortured. When police questioned the affected women, many did not speak up due to fear of the pastor, while some appeared to be in a trance-like state and unable to give answers. It was reported that they lost their sense of self and even forgot their parents and family, so strong was the Pastor’s mental hold over them.

3) Sexual abuse by clergy is very prominent in Kerala, and in this shocking incident, a married woman was sexually abused by 5 priests for years. A priest belonging to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox church had sexually abused her before she was married. Later, when she confessed the pre-marital affair, the priest who heard the confession exploited her, threatening that he would reveal everything to her husband.

Again, that priest handed her over to another priest, blackmailing her using the photographs. The church, as usual, resorted to victim blaming and said it was a false complaint as the victim claimed that she was sexually abused 380 times by one priest in many years. The church called them “affairs” to absolve the five priests of their sins.

4) In May 2022, Father Thomas Parakkulam, a Catholic priest was sentenced to 18 years of rigorous imprisonment for raping 4 of his minor students. He was associated with the Chennai-based Society of Eugene De Mazenod and served as a padre at the Holy Cross Seminary at Pullamala near Kottarakara. The boys were undergoing priestly training at the seminary and they were 16 years old when they were subjected to sexual abuse. The priest had escaped from police custody but was caught later.

5) Fathima Sophia, a 16 year old girl was sexually abused and murdered by a Catholic priest and the church covered up the crime. She was murdered in Kerala and the complaint was filed in Malayalam. Her Tamil mother didn’t know Malayalam and had to yield to the police pressure and sign the document without knowing what was written in it. Even though Father Arockiaraj, a family friend, accepted on his own to the mother that he killed the girl, the case was closed as a suicide.

The truth unraveled only when the mother found a love letter from Arockiaraj in Sophia’s book. The priest had confessed to the Canonical committee that he had “used” the girl and murdered her. Yet, the church did not inform the police and merely proceeded with defrocking him. To the mother, priests in the committee accepted that they knew the truth. She recorded the conversations and tried to reopen the case to no avail. She went to the media and exposed everything. As a result her house was stoned, the Coimbatore diocese organised a protest against her, she was ousted from her church and her daughter was buried without sacraments.

6) In 2015, a 12 year old boy was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Mumbai. When the victim’s parents tried to get justice from the church, they were told, “Let it be, leave it; he is a boy after all”. The boy tried to end his life and was even afraid of going out for fear of being victimised again. The priest’s supporters spread canards about the victim’s family and they say that fellow churchgoers literally spit at them and point fingers at them, claiming their child had been raped.

7) In 2014, a Church of South India(CSI) pastor was arrested for raping and selling 2 minor girls to pimps. The pastor had lured the girls with small gifts and presents. They ran away from home and went to the pastor and his friend. They were raped by both and pushed into prostitution.

8) In West Bengal, a pastor raped a 12 year old child, which left her pregnant and battling for life. The poor child’s mother left her when she was one and a half years old and her father is mentally unstable. She was staying with a distant relative whose husband, the pastor, had been raping her since she was in kindergarten. He repeatedly raped her and threatened her not to reveal it to anyone. When she told his wife, she also threatened her to keep quiet.

Only when her stomach started bulging they took her to a doctor and it was revealed that she was 6 months pregnant by then. Without informing the police, the doctor suggested abortion as the 12 year old was physically unfit to bear the child. He administered some injection and later the baby died inside the girl’s womb. In such a critical state she was left battling for her life.

9) In Punjab a ‘Dalit’ gil was lured by a pastor who forcibly converted and raped her. He sold her to a Christian man for Rs 1 lakh. He locked her up and repeatedly raped her.

10) A pastor who ran an unregistered ‘children’s home’ in Delhi sexually assaulted a minor inmate for 7 years. He also used her as domestic help. When it came to light, the girl revealed that the pastor had sexually abused many children over the years.

These incidents show how the church, as an institution, enables and encourages pedophiles and sexual abusers in the name of spirituality. Not only churches but all institutions associated with them are dens of sexual abuse and these 10 incidents are only the tip of the iceberg. One might also notice how wealth has helped the church buy out people and bury such crimes. It is time that Christian institutions are watched by child rights and women’s rights bodies and their wealth brought under the purview of the government. If temples are taken over by governments for financial mismanagement, surely church properties can be nationalised for going against the law of the land in hiding and aiding such heinous crimes?