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Kerala priest convicted of rape defrocked

Thiruvananthapuram, March 1 (IANS) A 52-year-old Kerala Catholic clergyman Robin Vadakkumchery, who has been sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment in three different cases of rape and abuse of minor girls, has been dismissed from priesthood by the Vatican, church officials here said on Sunday.

The Manthavady (in Wayanad district) dioceses officials informed the media that the Vatican, after going through the whole process, had decided to dismiss Vadakkumchery from priesthood.

The Pope’s decision was made on December 5 last year and the papers of it have been given to the now jailed priest.

Vadakkumchery was serving as a parish vicar near Kannur and was the manager of the Church-backed school, where the victim, a Class 11 student, was studying.

A Child Line agency, that works among school children, had registered the complaint against the priest.

The priest came under pressure after the girl gave birth to a child on February 7, 2017, at a hospital run by the management .

The priest was arrested on the night of February 27, 2017, near Kochi International airport while he was preparing to slip out of the country.

It was on February 17 last year that the priest was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by a court in Thalassery after he was tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

During the trial, the victim and her mother turned hostile. Despite that, the court proceeded on the basis of evidence collected, and handed out the verdict.

Four nuns, another priest and one more woman attached to the convent, who were co-accused in the police chargesheet were let off due to lack of adequate evidences.

–IANS

sg/sdr/bc

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