The crime branch of the state police recently registered an FIR and slapped rape charges against four of the five priests after recording the woman's statement.
A 39-year-old woman has filed a rape case against a priest of a Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala. While one has surrendered, three others are on the run say sources.
The woman accused the priest Binu George of raping her four years ago at Alappuzha district.
In her statement to the police, the woman said Father Varghese first assaulted her during a prayer meeting when she was just 16.
While they cited the declaration filed by the survivor to the church to argue their case, the investigation team has maintained that the document can not be considered a legal document.
"She was sexually abused as a minor".
The Crime Branch, which is now investigating the case, told the court that anticipatory bail should not be granted to the accused priests since it was essential to take them into custody for questioning.
In a scathing observation, while rejecting the bail pleas, the court yesterday said, "It appears that the applicants have acted as predators and have taken undue advantage of the position of the survivor". She was threatened even after her marriage and sexually abused. "The reasonable possibility of accused to obstruct justice, can not be brushed aside".
"We had transferred him out of the complainant's parish as a punishment", Malankara Church priests trustee Father MO John told The Indian Express.
At least two more women have come out alleging that they too were sexually abused by two other priests of the same church since this case surfaced. They approached the High Court in their individual capacities. According to reports, the accused priests, who are now absconding, have said that they were willing to surrender before the investigating team.
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