The Church seems to have a problem of rampant sexual abuse all over the world. The church tries to hush up these issues and maintain a straight face to protect its religious identity and maintain its clean image of working as enlightened God men. Pastors, Fathers and other priests have often tried to cover up the mistakes of their brethren in the olden times too when the churches used to control the government and in turn the public opinion. The good old days of the church are long gone now, as it has become apparent by the expose of countless charges against men of the church in the past few years in India alone. The most recent event has come up from ‘God’s own country’ Kerala where five priests belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church have been accused of blackmail and sexually abusing a married woman over few years. The five priests have been named as the accused by the husband of the woman, both of whom are part of the diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
In a letter written by the husband to the church, he has alleged that his wife’s confession was misused by priest to blackmail and take advantage of her. The information was further passed on to the other priests who continued the chain of blackmailing and sexually abusing the woman. The complaint mentions eight members in total although the husband wanted the church to take action only against the five priests. An audio clip which is allegedly a conversation between the woman’s husband and another official from the church is also doing the rounds, the woman’s husband in the audio clip is heard saying, “A priest had abused her (his wife) before the marriage. Later, when she confessed the pre-marital abuse, that priest (who heard the confession) exploited her, threatening that he would reveal everything to me. Again, that priest handed over her to another priest, blackmailing her using the photographs.’’ The letter written to the church and the audio clip is proof of some illegal behavior going on in the churches of Kerala. The church’s working committee member and priest’s trustee Father M O John lost no time in trying to safeguard the five priests against whom the allegations were raised by the woman’s husband, “In the complaint, the husband said one priest had abused his wife 380 times. Then, what they were doing until the figure reached 380. That is why the husband was not keen to move a police complaint.”
Father John further tried to distort the allegation levied by the husband by fabricating a new story out of thin air. He said that the woman was in a relationship with one accused priest during her teenage years, the second accused priest had an affair with her while working in her parish and the third accused had been in relation with the woman during her college days. In Kerala the churches are already embroiled in many land rows and they have been accused of sexual abuse charges many times in the past too. It is perhaps time for the mainstream media to focus on the priests and their wrongdoings as well. Self styled godmen like Ram Rahim and Asaram were projected as evil face of Hinduism by the media but why has the media maintained silence on the misconduct of the priests?
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