HC gives bail to second Kerala priest accused of rape

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Kochi, July 25 (IANS) The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Father Job Mathew, one of the four priests accused in a rape case of a woman parishioner, attached to the Malankara Orthodox Church.

Earlier on Monday another priest Johnson V. Mathew, an accused in the same case had secured bail.

The court asked Job Mathew on Wednesday to surrender his passport, just as it had asked Johnson V. Mathew.

Job Mathew was also asked to present himself before the probe officer once every week.

Job Mathew was the first to be arrested on July 12, from near Kollam by the Crime Branch police probing the case. He has been holed up at the Pathanamthitta district jail since.

Last week a magisterial court in Thiruvalla had rejected his bail, following which he approached the high court.

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In this case the Crime Branch has charged four Kerala priests, including the two who has now secured bail while Father Sony (Abraham) Varghese and Father Jaice K. George who moved the Supreme Court, have managed to get a stay order on their arrest till their petition is finally disposed.

While Johnson V. Mathew who got the bail on Monday, has been charged for outraging the modesty of a lady, the three others have been charged for rape.

The victim who regularly visited the church had accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade. Her husband had filed the complaint.

It was one priest in the beginning who first exploited her and then started blackmailing her.

When she sought help from another priest, he too, threatened her and shared her contact with a fellow priest and she was eventually victimised by five of them.

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The National Commission for Women is monitoring the case. One of the priests escaped action as the victim had mentioned only four names, according to the police.

–IANS

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