Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a former priest accused of raping a nun several times over a two-year period, in a case that has sparked massive outrage and protests in Kerala, was ruled by a court today. Acquitted.
Franco Mulakkal, 57, is India’s first Catholic bishop to stand trial on charges of raping a nun. After more than 100 days of trial, the Additional Sessions court handed down a single verdict, saying it found him not guilty.
He was seen smiling as he left the courtroom in Kottayam after the verdict.
In 2018, nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus in the diocese of Jalandhar accused Bishop Franco of repeatedly raping her between 2014 and 2016, when he was head of the Missionaries of Jesus. He denies the allegations.
The accusations were followed by unprecedented street protests by the nuns, who demanded action from the church, the police and the Kerala state government.
A few months later, police launched an investigation after five nuns protested outside the High Court. The nuns also wrote to the Vatican seeking its intervention. The nuns were heavily criticized inside the church, and they were the target of a wave of threats and accusations.
A special investigation team investigating the allegations eventually arrested and charged the bishop in September 2018. Bishop Franco Muracar was arrested after three days of police questioning. The trial began in November 2019.
Kottayam police chief S Hari Shankar then expressed his shock at today’s verdict. “There is strong evidence in this case. No witnesses became hostile,” he told NDTV.
The court prohibits print and electronic media from publishing any content related to the trial without its permission.
In 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Bishop’s request for a review of his earlier decision to dismiss his petition against rape allegations.
Mulakal told the court he was framed and challenged the financial dealings of the nuns who accused him.
Complete News Source : NDTV