Pathanamthitta : The Thiruvalla court today rejected bail plea submitted by the two church priests accused of blackmailing and raping a married woman over time in the district.
Fr Job Mathew, the second accused, and Fr Johnson V Mathew, the third accused, approached the Judicial First Class Magistrate hoping to be bailed after 8 days in custody.
The court observed that the charges levelled against them are of serious nature before dismissing their petition.
According to sources, the priests will now appeal the High Court for respite.
A man from Pathanamthitta lodged complaint against five priests belonging to Malankara Syrian orthodox church in the district for sexually exploiting his wife 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. He 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.
Another priest Fr Johnson V Mathew is accused of once blackmailing the woman using her nude pics and forcing her into his car after which he touched her inappropriately. He is the 5th accused and the only priest exempted from rape charges.
All accused priests maintain their innocence though unconfirmed reports say the ones nabbed have confessed to their crime.
Three priests have been arrested so far while 2 – Fr Abraham Varghese aka Sony and Fr Jayce K George – continue to abscond.
They have approached the apex court for anticipatory bail.