• Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 05:30
The Ernakulam rural police submitted a report in Kerala high court on Tuesday stating that Father Edwin Figarez, a Christian priest accused of sexually harassing a minor girl at Puthenvelikkara, had sexually enticed the victim many times, usually when she visited him for confession. “We approached the court against the accused’s petition to stay the arrest, we have enough evidence to prove him guilty in the case,” says Yatish Chandra, Ernakulam Rural Superintend of Police According to the police, the mother of a Class 9 student lodged a complaint against Figarez, a priest with the Lourdes Matha Church, Puthenvelikkara on April 1. “The mother, in her complaint, stated that the accused sexually assaulted her 15-year-old daughter several times over the past couple of months,” Chandra said. The priest allegedly sexually enticed the victim when she went to him for confessions. Though in the beginning the diocese denied the charges against the priest, spokesperson of Kottapuram diocese Father Rocky Roby told The News Minute that the accused priest is under temporary suspension as a result of the primary investigation done by the diocese. “As per  the rule of the catholic church we will conduct internal investigations in these issues. In this case we did a primary investigation and sent our report to Rome for further decision making. Another team has started a detailed enquiry in to the issue, till the probe get over he will remain suspended from the Catholic Ministry,” he told TNM. The police say that a medical examination of the victim had confirmed that she was sexually abused.   The accused went in to hiding since the case came in to light. “The accused fled to Dubai on April 2, a day after the girl's mother filed a complaint. When we checked his passport number with emigration sections in different airports, we found that the accused had flown to Dubai from Bengaluru airport,” said the Vadakkekara circle inspector P K Manoj Kumar, who leads investigation in the case. Police also accused that a relative of the priest, helped him to retrieve his belongings from the church and then to leave the country. “He will also be included as accused in the charge sheet for helping the priest to flee,” Kumar said.