Nun seeks justice from Vatican; accused Bishop says charges concocted

Kerala nuns join public protest demanding arrest of bishop

The nuns are seen protesting outside of the Kochi High Court

On June 29, a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus reported to authorities that, from 2014 to 2016, Mulakkal raped her more than a dozen times at her convent in the southern state of Kerala.

"The Church leadership should seriously address the allegations raised by the nun", he said.

The demonstrations started on Saturday and continued throughout the weekend in Thiruvananthapuram, fuelled by an incendiary press conference in which a politician questioned the account of the bishops's alleged victim, a 46-year-old nun, and described her as a prostitute.

Reportedly, a special team has been looking into the case and after a preliminary investigation, it found that the Bishop had abused his position and had raped the nun repeatedly. Though a police complaint against the bishop was filed over two months ago, he continues to roam free.

"Though Bishop Franco had sexually abused me several times, I could not reveal the full story to my Superior General or to her Councilors".

In her lengthy letter, the nun also sought to explain her silence before coming out against the bishop and said she had "tremendous fear and shame" and wondered why the church was "closing its eyes to the truth".

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The congregation's statement repeated the same claim and argument.

"They are arranging people to attack us and Bishop Franco is using his political power and money to get higher authorities of the investigation and the government to bury legal proceedings that I have filed against him", she charged. The nuns, along with some activists, staged a dharna at the High Court junction, alleging that the police and church officials had denied them justice.

"I beg the Church authorities to kindly make a speedy enquiry about this case and remove Bishop Franco from his responsibilities as the spiritual leader of the diocese", the nun said.

They have alleged that top police officials were trying to sabotage the probe. I have heard they are (nuns) protesting.

Kottayam district police chief Hari Shankar has reportedly approached the director general of police Loknath Behera requesting that the high-profile case be handed over to the crime branch, though the latter said no such decision has been taken yet.

"The complainant's sister, myself and God (know the truth)", he said.

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