52-yr-old priest under life sentence for raping minor ‘wishes’ to wed her

Kochi: Kerala Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery, 52, sentenced to 20 years in jail in three different cases of rape and abuse of a minor, has moved the Kerala High Court seeking to marry the victim and take care of the child born to her.

Expressing similar wish, the victim has filed an affidavit in the court.

However, the prosecution expressed doubts over it and said it could be a ploy to get relaxation. The court has sought a police report and posted the case for July 24.

Vadakkumchery, dismissed from priesthood by the Vatican, was serving as a parish vicar near Kannur and was the manager of the Church-backed-school, where the victim, a Class 11 student, was studying.

A child line agency, which works among school children, had registered the complaint against the priest. The priest came under pressure after the girl gave birth to a child on February 7, 2017.

The priest was arrested on February 27, 2017 from near the Kochi International Airport while he was preparing to slip out of the country. He was tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

On February 17, 2019, he was sentenced to 20-year jail by a court in Thalassery.

During the trial, the victim and her mother had turned hostile. But the court handed out the verdict on the basis of evidences. Four nuns, another priest and one more woman attached to the convent, all co-accused in the police charge-sheet, were let off due to lack of adequate evidences.

In March, the Manthavady (in Wayanad district) Adioceses officials said the Vatican had dismissed Vadakkumchery from priesthood. The papers related to the Pope’s decision, taken on December 5, 2019, were given to the jailed priest.

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