Second Kerala priest arrested

Kerala police on Friday arrested a second priest in connection with the sexual abuse of a homemaker.

By Our special correspondent in Bangalore
  • Published 14.07.18
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Bangalore: Kerala police on Friday arrested a second priest in connection with the sexual abuse of a homemaker.

Johnson V. Mathew was arrested from his home at Kozhencherry in Pathanamthitta district in the afternoon.

A crime branch team immediately took him for questioning to Thiruvalla in the same district and later to the district government hospital for a routine medical examination.

Mathew is one of the four clergymen belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church who have been accused of raping and blackmailing the woman.

According to a police source, the crime branch team would present Mathew before a magistrate late in the evening and seek his custody for further interrogation.

Another accused priest, Job Mathew, had surrendered before the police on Thursday. He has since been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.

Police teams continued their search for two other accused priests - Abraham Varghese and Jais K. George - who have been absconding since the FIR was lodged.

Kerala High Court had on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail pleas of Varghese, George and Job Mathew.

Job Mathew has filed a bail plea before a Thiruvalla court, which will hear the matter on Monday.

The victim from Pathanamthitta had accused Varghese of raping her when she was just 16. Job Mathew had sexually exploited her by misusing her confession secrets later. The two others had allegedly sexually assaulted her after Job Mathew shared her pictures in a state of undress.

Besides the charges of rape and blackmail, the police are considering booking Varghese under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act as he had allegedly raped her when she was a minor.

While dismissing the anticipatory bail pleas of the priests, Kerala High Court had described their acts as "predatory".