- Bishop Franco Mulakkal gets conditional bail from Kerala High Court
- He is accused of repeatedly raping a Kerala nun between 2014 and 2016
- He was arrested last month amid protests over sexual assault allegations
Franco Mulakkal, the senior Catholic priest accused of repeatedly raping a nun, has been granted bail by the Kerala High Court over three weeks after he was arrested.
The priest had approached the high court for bail last month after it was rejected by a lower court. Franco Mulakkal, 54, was arrested after three days of questioning and amid protests over the sexual assault allegations. The Kerala government had assured the probe by the Special Investigation Team was proceeding in the "right direction" and that justice will be done.
Franco Mulakkal's bail comes with certain conditions. He has been directed to surrender his passport and not enter Kerala except for appearing before the investigating officer once in two weeks on Saturdays. This condition would be applicable till a charge-sheet is filed in the case.
The high court had dismissed his bail plea earlier this month, while accepting the prosecution's argument that the accused, holding a high position in the society, would try to influence the witnesses in the case if he was granted bail.
In her complaint in June, the nun had alleged that she was sexually abused by Franco Mulakkal 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kottayam. The nun had said she approached the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman. However, the bishop has denied the charges.
Franco Mulakkal was divested of his pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Missionaries of Jesus by the Vatican.