The 43-year-old nun, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab, had filed a rape complaint in 2018 against the then Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese, Franco Mulakkal.

Kerala Bishop Franco Mulakkal Charged In Nun Rape Case

The Special Investigation Team had arrested rape-accused priest Framco Mulakkal in 2018. (File)Kottayam (Kerala): 

The Kottayam Additional Sessions Court today framed rape charges against Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese, Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused by a nun of sexually abusing her in Kerala between 2014 and 2016.

The judge read out the charges to Mulakkal, including rape, repeated rape, misuse of authority, wrongful confinement and use of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman, among other sections, as it commenced trial in the sensational case.

Mulakkal has denied all charges.

The case has been posted for hearing on September 16, when the complainant nun will be examined in the court.

The 43-year-old nun, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab, had filed a complaint with Kerala’s Kottayam Police in June 2018.

Five other nuns living in the same hostel as the complainant, and standing strong in her support, have repeatedly told the media that they were forced to file a police complaint after inaction and intimidation from church officials, despite repeated appeals.

In 2019, a year after filing the case, the nun had approached the National and Kerala Women’s Commissions besides the National Human Rights Commission as she was facing “harassment” by the senior priest of the Roman Catholic Church and his supporters.

The trial was scheduled to start on November 11 last year, but it was put off till November 30. It was again deferred to January 6 this year after Mulakkal sought more time.

Later, he filed a discharge plea in the trial court in Kottayam, seeking to clear charges against him, claiming that the rape survivor implicated him after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.

On July 1, Mulakkal skipped a hearing at the Kottayam additional district court on the grounds that his house was in a coronavirus containment zone. The public prosecutor then pointed out the area was not a containment zone and that it was a deliberate attempt to delay the case.

Later, Mulakkal approached the Supreme Court to clear the rape charges against him, but the petition was dismissed.