After two of the four Kerala priests accused of raping and blackmailing a woman were arrested, the remaining two have approached the Supreme Court seeking protection from arrest. The top court has agreed to hear their pleas tomorrow.
Father Sony (Abraham) Varghese had filed his plea on Saturday, while Father Jaice K George submitted his anticipatory bail application today, their lawyers said. Johnson P Mathew, a counsellor, and Father Job Mathew were arrested after the High Court rejected the bail applications of three of the accused priests last week.
A 34-year-old woman has accused the four priests, based at the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kottayam, of using her confidential confessions to force her into having sex with them. The cycle of blackmail and sexual abuse continued for several years, her husband alleged.
"The main culprit, the Father, promised to marry her and continued to manipulate her. The Father was a student at that time. Even after finishing his seminary and becoming a priest, he continued the same pattern. Even after we got married in 2006, the priest continued to sexually abuse my wife, blackmail her, saying that he would tell me everything. I got to know all this only in February," the husband told NDTV.
Then two more priests threatened her and sexually abused and blackmailed her, the woman has reportedly told the police.
In its order rejecting the request for anticipatory bail, the high court referred to the woman's allegation that the four priests had "systemically" raped her for two decades. The court also observed that the priests appeared to have "acted as predators".
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