Kunnathunad police in Ernakulam district on Saturday arrested a 74-year-old Christian pastor for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl. The accused, Mathew is a resident of Mukaddam near Konnathady in Idukki district. According to the police, the crime took place in January and the girlâ€™s mother who came to know about the incident filed a complaint in Kunnathunad police station. The accused pastor, who according to police, goes around houses preaching religious matters, was arrested from Konnathady on Saturday.
Mathew has been charged with various provisions under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, said police. â€śWe cannot reveal other details on where the alleged crime took place or other details as that would reveal the identity of the child,â€ť an official of Kunnathunad police station said. After the arrest, the accused has been remanded to judicial custody by court.
Last October, a vicar of a Jacobite Syrian church in Idukki was arrested by the police for allegedly sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman, while she approached him for Ayurveda treatment. Fifty-five-year-old Fr Reji Palakkadan is the accused in the case. He was practising as an Ayurvedic practitioner but was not running an officially registered firm.
In 2019, a priest of the Syro Malabar Church in Ernakulam district was booked for allegedly assaulting three 9-year-old girls. Sixty-eight-year-old Father George Padayattil, the vicar of Holy Cross Church in Chendamangalam, allegedly abused the girl while they visited the priest in his residential area adjacent to the church.
The same year, another Christain priest in Kochi, who was heading a boys home, was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing six minor boys who resided in the place. Father George TJ, alias Jerry, was the director of the boysâ€™ home in Kochi run by Carmelites order, under the Diocese of Cochin.