Two Orthodox priests accused of rape surrender

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Kollam/Thiruvalla, Aug 13 (IANS) Two Malankara Orthodox Church priests accused in a rape case of a woman parishioner, Monday surrendered as per the directive of the Supreme Court.

Father Sony (Abraham) Varghese and Father Jaice K. George had moved the Supreme Court. The court asked them to surrender before a probe team on or before the Aug 13.

These two priests were on the run and had approached the Supreme Court, which for a while stayed their arrest till the case was disposed of. Early this month they were asked to appear before the probe team by Aug 13.

While Varghese appeared before a court in Thiruvalla, George appeared before the police at Kollam.

Varghese was later remanded in judicial custody till Aug 23 and George will be produced before a court tomorrow.

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In this case the Crime Branch has charged four Kerala priests, including the two who have now secured bail, Father Job Mathew and Father Johnson V. Mathew.

The victim who regularly visited the church had accused five priests of sexually abusing her for a decade. Her husband had complained that she came under pressure from at least five priests.

It was one priest in the beginning who first exploited his wife 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.

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.

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