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Kerala Church sex scandal: Rape and molestation case registered against four priests

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 2: The state police on Monday have registered a case of rape and molestation against four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Earlier, the five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church were accused of sexually abusing and blackmailing a woman.

The case was registered after the victim came forward and recorded her statement with crime branch officials. The victim, in her statement to police, confirmed that she was raped and blackmailed.

Kerala Church sex scandal: Rape and molestation case registered against four priests

The incident came to light last week after an audio clip containing the man's purported conversation with a church official alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests was widely circulated on social media. The man from Pathanamthitta district had alleged that some priests allegedly used his wife's secret confession to blackmail her. However, no police complaint has been lodged in the case.

The National Women's Commission (NCW) had also asked the DGP and state police chief to investigate the matter and apprise the commission about the detailed action.

The Kottayam-based church had said it has ordered a "clear, impartial" probe into the allegations and if found guilty, action would be taken.

"The accused would not be shielded and innocent will not be punished," the church had said in a statement. "If they are found guilty, necessary action will be taken against them... The accused will not be shielded and innocent will not be punished," the church said in a statement here. The church said it understood the sentiments of the followers and the general public over the incident but condemned rumours being spread about it.

It also said steps would be taken to persuade priests to provide value-based divine service to its followers. Although the man, who came to know about the alleged sexual abuse and blackmailing by priests after checking his wife's e-mail account, has levelled allegations against eight priests, he has reportedly named only five priests as the role of three others in the incident could not be established.

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