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Punjab

Nun rape: I am the victim, claims Jalandhar bishop

July 15, 2018 05:02 AM

courstey  TOI  JULY 15

Nun rape: I am the victim, claims Jalandhar bishop
IP.Singh@timesgroup.com

Jalandhar:

Franco Mulakkal, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, who has been accused of raping a nun, has claimed that he is the real victim in the entire episode. Speaking exclusively to TOI on Saturday, he alleged that he had been falsely implicated in the rape case because he had ordered a discreet investigation into the nun’s alleged affair with the husband of one of her own cousins.


Asked if he was considering stepping down as bishop at least until the investigation into the case is completed, he said that he was “under obedience of the Pope”. “I don’t act on my own,” he said. “Moreover, my conscience is clear.”

fighting for ensuring that a superior is given some protection against what he called false allegations, if he has ordered an investigation against a subordinate. Asked if there was need to bring reform into the church, like allowing priests to marry, he said that five priests of a church in Kerala were facing similar allegations and they were all married. “It does not matter,” he insisted. “I would advocate the current practice of the Catholic church.”

The nun, who has accused Mulakkal of rape, was posted at the Mission of Jesus Sisters (MSJ) in Jalandhar in 2016 when her own cousin approached the superior general of the mission in November that year. She alleged that the nun was having an affair with her husband and destroying her family.

“Superior general Sister Regina came to me for consultation. I told her to follow procedure,” the bishop claims. “Had I not asked her to investigate the complaint, it would have amounted to a cover-up and the complainant could have put up us in the dock.”

‘There’s a room earmarked for me at Kerala convent’

Sister Regina told TOI that she received the complaint on November 10, 2016. “We formed a committee of four sisters who even went to Kerala to question the nun but she never cooperated,” she said. “Her Delhi-based cousin alleged that she was in a relationship with her husband.”

The bishop admitted that he stayed at the convent in Kerala where the nun has claimed that she was raped. But he said there was nothing unusual about it as the mission house was meant for fathers from the Diocese of Jalandhar and a room had been specially marked room for him.

“My predecessors, Symphorian Keeprath and Anil Couto, also stayed in the same room whenever they visited Kerala. In fact, the property was purchased by Diocese of Jalandhar to provide a place for priests from Kerala going back home,” the Bishop added. “There are entries in the logbook that I stayed there 13 times and the number has been cited in her complaint.”

Mulakkal argued that while the nun alleged sexual abuse from 2014 to 2016, she had accompanied him to several religious functions during the period. “Would a victim go around with her rapist or go to latter’s home? She visited my house when a jubilee function was held in Kerala in 2015 and then also when my mother passed away in November 2015,” said Mulakkal who became a priest in 1990.

“We have a system of transfers,” he added. “If she was a victim, she could have asked for a transfer from a place where she was suffering but she did not ask for one ever. I challenge her to bring out any evidence that she sought transfer out of the convent to some other place. Rather, it was me who was transferring her, which she was resisting.

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