FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2018 file photo, bishop of the Indian city of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, center, leaves after being questioned by police in Kochi, India. Indian authorities charged the Roman Catholic bishop on Tuesday with repeatedly raping a nun in her rural convent, a case that helped make the sexual abuse of nuns a major issue in the church. (AP Photo/Prakash Elamakkara, File)

Indian bishop charged with repeatedly raping nun

The case has split India’s Catholic community, with many people defending the bishop

Indian authorities charged a Roman Catholic bishop on Tuesday with repeatedly raping a nun in her rural convent, a case that helped make the sexual abuse of nuns a major issue in the church.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was charged with rape, illegal confinement and intimidation, said Hari Sankar, a district police chief in the southern state of Kerala, India’s Catholic heartland.

READ MORE: Women have ‘legitimate claims’ for justice, equality: Pope

The nun who made the accusations, who has not been publicly identified, said she went to police last year only after complaining repeatedly to church authorities. Eventually, a group of fellow nuns launched unprecedented public protests to demand Mulakkal’s arrest. He was arrested but released after a few weeks.

Mulakkal was the official patron of the nun’s community, the Missionaries of Jesus, and wielded immense influence over its budgets and job assignments. The nun said the rapes occurred between 2014 and 2016.

Mulakkal has denied the accusations, calling them “baseless and concocted” and saying the accusing nun was trying to pressure him to get a better job.

In February, Pope Francis for the first time publicly acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops.

Speaking to reporters aboard the papal plane, Francis vowed to confront the problem. “Should we do something more? Yes. Is there the will? Yes. But it’s a path that we have already begun,” he said.

READ MORE: Pope demands sex abuse claims be reported in Vatican City

The Mulakkal case has split India’s Catholic community, with many people defending the bishop.

In March, the founder of the Vatican’s women’s magazine, along with the magazine’s all-female editorial board, quit their positions, saying a Vatican campaign to discredit them had increased since they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Williams Lake RCMP raise awareness for Auto Crime Enforcement Month

April 2019 is Auto Crime Enforcement Month, and the RCMP are asking the public to stay alert.

Owner of Pacific Grizzly offers cash reward to solve suspicious sinking

Bella Coola owner puts up $25,000 reward for information

Williams Lake Studio Theatre prepares a thoughtful drama with Cherry Docs

The drama takes a stark and at times harsh look at bigotry and prejudice

Petition calls for single-use plastics ban in Williams Lake

“It’s absolutely disgusting and we don’t need it”

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read