Kannur: A catholic priest and nuns accused of shielding a fellow priest who allegedly raped a teen last year, have surrendered to the police in Kerala's Kottiyoor today. One of them is also the former chairman of Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC). They have been charged with covering up the rape of a minor girl and protecting a fellow priest.
Child Welfare Committee Chairman, Father Thomas Joseph Therakam and one of the committee members, Betty Jose and Superintendent of the orphanage in Wayanad Sister Ophelia, surrendered before the Peravoor Circle Inspector, Sunil Kumar, who is the Investigating Officer in the case, police said.
"They surrendered at 6:30 am... they will be produced before the court in the afternoon after questioning and medical examination," Sunil Kumar said.
The Kerala High Court had on March 14 directed the accused to surrender before the investigating officers within five days. Father Robin alias Mathew Vadakkencheril, who was the vicar of the local church in Kottiyoor and the prime accused in the case was arrested on February 28 on charges of sexually exploiting and impregnating a 17-year-old girl. According to the police, the girl was raped in May 2016.
The teen gave birth to the child on February 7 at a private hospital in Kuthuparamba. The child was taken to an orphanage at Vythiri in Wayanad district. The officials of the orphanage had alleged that the CWC did not take any action even though they had been informed about the newborn on February 8, a day after the infant was admitted there.
"Eight persons had been booked for their alleged role in the sexual exploitation and subsequent delivery of the baby by the girl," police said.
The newborn has been taken to a special home in Kannur based on the court orders, while the girl, a class 11 student, is with her parents.
Last year in August, a Catholic priest was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing and murdering a college student in Kerala's Palakkad district. Four other clergymen, including a bishop were arrested for allegedly covering up the case. In May 2015, another Catholic priest in the Ernakulam district was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.
(With inputs from PTI)