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Kerala Church sex scandal case: SC to consider bail plea by Father Sony Varghese tomorrow

By Deepika

New Delhi, July 16:The Supreme Court will hear tomorrow the anticipatory bail plea of Father Soni Abraham Varghese in connection with the sex scandal case involving four clergymen attached to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala.

Representational Image

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud agreed to hear the plea of the priest after he sought urgent hearing as he fears arrest in the case.

The crime branch had on July 2 registered a case against Father Varghese and three other priests on the basis of statements given by a woman belonging to the same Church accusing them of sexually assaulting her on many occasions.

Father Varghese, represented by his lawyer, Karthik Ashok, moved the apex court against a Kerala High Court decision denying him and two other co-accused priests Father Job Mathew and Father Jaise K. George anticipatory bail.

The High Court had dismissed their plea and ordered them to surrender forthwith. The High Court had observed that "prima facie, it appears that the applicants have acted as predators and they have taken undue advantage of the position of the survivor to their advantage. From her version, it appears that the survivor has been systematically abused by the accused, who are all closely known to the family members of the survivor."

The survivor, in her statement, had asserted that her consent was not unequivocal or voluntary. The homemaker alleged that all the four priests had sexually exploited her, misusing her confessional secrets.

The Crime Branch team had arrested two of the accused, Father Job Mathew and Father Johnson V. Mathew and search was on for the other two accused.

The police had seized their passports to check any attempt by the accused to go abroad.

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