Kollam : Father Job Mathew , the prime accused in the blackmail and rape scandal involving Syro-Malabar clergy in Pathanamthitta district has been arrested .
Father Mathew was one among three clergies who moved High Court yesterday seeking anticipatory. The court however refused to give them respite saying the woman’s testimony to police and magistrate has to be considered.
Meanwhile there are confusing reports on the priests surrender and arrest. According to one report, the priest had surrendered before the Commissioner’s office and arrested by sleuths who lay in wait after a tip-off and arrested him. Another report claims Father Mathew surrendered before Kollam DySP himself after which he was arrested.
The Crime Branch team handling the case has declined to confirm arrest details.
The priest will be produced in the court today.
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 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.