Pune court sends priest to police custody, five others booked

Hindustan Times [Delhi, India]

November 27, 2022

This is the third case of sexual abuse against the priest and he was previously booked at Kondhwa police station for a similar offence

Pune sessions court on Sunday extended father Vincent Pereira’s police custody on charges of sexually abusing a minor. Pereira was arrested on Friday by Bund Garden police, and remanded to police custody on Saturday. On Sunday he was produced before a Pune court, which extended his custody by another day.

This is the third such case against the priest and he was previously booked at Kondhwa police station for a similar offence.

Besides Pereira, five priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese committee have been named as co-accused and have also been booked in the case.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Bund Garden Division) RN Raje said, “We have arrested Periera after a complaint related to sexual abuse of a minor was lodged against him. The accused has two other POCSO-related cases lodged against him in the past and the investigation is on.”

The latest case has been filed under sections 9 (p), 10, 11, 12, 21(1), 21(2) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) and IPC 506.

The FIR against Pereira states, “Father Vincent Pereira sexually abused a 15-year-old boy at Pune Railway station. When the parents of the victim informed the Roman Catholic Diocese committee, no legal action was taken against Pereira by the church committee.”

The complaint was filed by social activist Dominic Lobo based on which the FIR has been filed at Bund Garden police station.

Pereira’s lawyer Advocate Milind Pawar said, “It is a false case lodged against Father Pereira. Besides him, five priests of the church have been named in the FIR as co-accused on grounds that they did not take legal action against Pereira.”

Earlier, The Hadapsar Police had booked the priest for allegedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy at the latter’s home on December 4, 2021. He was however granted interim bail in the case by the Pune court which is now being challenged by police.

In 2018, Pereira was booked by Wanowrie police for showing a pornographic video to a student, following which he was arrested. He has been granted bail by the Bombay High Court in the said case.