Kochi : The Kerala High Court on Wednesday refused anticipatory bail to three Catholic orthodox priests accused of blackmailing and raping a housewife in their parish.
Father Abraham Varghese, Father James K George and Father Job Mathew were represented by their lawyer who sought bail in the wake of their imminent arrest.
The Crime Branch objected to the bail demand and demanded custody of the priests for interrogation.
The priests are presently in hiding.
A man from Pathanamthitta lodged complaint against five priests belonging to Malankara Syrian orthodox church’ in the district for allegedly exploiting his wife sexually by blackmailing her over years.
According to the complaint, the woman was abused by one priest when she was a minor. She allegedly confessed this pre-marital encounter to 2nd accused Father Job Mathew during sacrament of confession. The priest then allegedly began to blackmail her with the disclosure and coerced her to have sex with him.
Then blackmailing the woman with pictures of their intimacy, the priest allegedly forced her to bed three other priests – 1st accused Fr Sony Varghese, 3rd accused Fr Abraham Varghese and 4th accused Fr Jayce K George.
All the accused have denied the allegations.
Church Decries Foul
The Malankara Syrian orthodox church’s working committee member and priests’ trustee Father M O John argues the case is not genuine. According to him it’s about a woman who has an affair with a priest in her teens, with another priest while in college and later with one who works in her parish.