A catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery from Kerala's Kannur has been found guilty of raping and impregnating a minor girl. He will be spending 20 years in jail.
The priest, 51, has been sentenced to 60 years in jail in three different cases of rape and abuse of minor girls, but will be in jail for 20 years as the charges are concurrent, explains public prosecutor Beena.
"Even though he will be spending 20 years in jail, it is important to understand that he has been found guilty on three counts involving rape and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for 20 years each for every charge. But instead of 60 years in jail, he will be spending 20 years in prison as the charges are concurrent," the advocate told NDTV.
"The court has clearly said that criminal proceedings must be initiated against the parents of the minor mother. I am yet to get the full order copy, but it's likely to be because the parents tried covering up and changed their statement," she added.
The shocking case first came to light in February 2017 when the girls' father told the police that he had impregnated his daughter, allegedly under pressure from the priest and his aides. But during the course of investigation, police zeroed down on catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery as the main accused and arrested him.
Amaljit Thomas, the nodal officer for Childline in Kannur, told NDTV how they zeroed on to the priest.
"We had to act swiftly and smartly. The new born baby of the minor mother was crucial evidence in the case and needed to be protected. We moved swiftly by seeking permission from Child Welfare Committee. We first grew suspicious based on an anonymous call that we received. Later as we investigated, we realised no one's statement was matching, so we alerted the police. Soon the accused was zeroed down as Father Robin", he said.
The girl was 16 years old when she was raped in May 2016. She has now finished school and is living with her parents and her child is living in foster care, under protection. The catholic priest was suspended temporarily, but not de-frocked.