“After the Kottiyoor case in which a Catholic priest was arrested for raping and impregnating a minor girl, yet another similar incident from Kerala’s Kottaym district has shocked the Church.
Fr Thomas Thanninilkkumthadathil from Maniyathuruth near Kallara has been booked by the Kaduthuruthi police for allegedly raping a Bangladeshi woman with British citizenship following a complaint from her. Police told PTI that they were verifying the complaint.
In her complaint filed at Kaduthuruthy in the district, the 42-year-old woman alleged that the priest raped her in Kerala after befriending her on Facebook. Thomas, 46, committed the offense after promising her that he would marry her, she alleged. Police said Thomas was currently serving as vicar of a church at Perumthururth near Kaduthuruthy.
Pala diocese of the Syro-Malabar Catholic church issued a release on Thursday stating that the accused has been dismissed from pastoral service and “all stages of priesthood.” An explanation was sought from him after summoning him to the diocese on February 13 when the Church authorities came to know about his “misconduct”, it said. The diocese said it would fully cooperate with the legal action initiated against the priest.
The woman has been sheltered at the Mahila Mandiram in Kottayam.
The woman told the police that she first came to Perumthuruth on January 7 along with a man from Zimbambwe. According to the complaint, the priest raped her at the parsonage and a hotel room before she went back. She returned to Kerala again on February 12. This time the priest met her at a hotel in Kumarakom. She said he decamped with her gold and diamond jewelery and money from the hotel room. The police subjected the woman to medical tests.
Meanwhile, the priest told the police that the complaint against him was fake. In a registerd letter addressed to Jaduthuruthi station officer K P Thomson, the absconding priest said the man who accompanied the woman to Kerala was her husband.
Last year in February, Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumcheri was arrested for raping and impregnating a minor girl at Neendunoki near Kottiyoor in Kannur district.
Robin, alias Mathew Vadakkancheri (48), was arrested on February 28 while he was trying to flee the country. He is in a jail at present, facing trial.
Robin, who was the Parish vicar of the St Sebastian’s Church at Neendunoki, had been suspended by the church authorities after the arrest.
A case was registered under IPC Section 376 and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The incident came to light after the victim, a Class XI student, delivered a baby.
The hospital bill was allegedly paid by the accused and the newborn was shifted to an orphanage in Wayanad. The accused also tried to allegedly implicate father of the girl in the case.”