Franco Mulakkal, the Jalandhar diocese bishop, has been acquitted in the rape case of a nun from Kerala. For more than three years, the nun from the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kottayamâ€™s Kuravilangad has been fighting a legal case against the bishop, accusing him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.
Although the nun had submitted a complaint to the Church in June 2017 about the rape, no action followed. A year later, in June 2018, the nun approached the police and filed a formal complaint. Even though the police registered a case, the bishop was not arrested. It was following days of protests by the survivor's fellow nuns and other prominent figures that Franco was arrested. Later, after seven months of delay, the police filed a chargesheet in the case.
Despite the threats and slander levelled against her and her supporter group ever since she took Franco to the court, the nun stood by her charges.
On June 29, 2018, Kuravilangad police registered a case based on the complaint filed by the survivor. The complaint said that she was raped 14 times by Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese, from May 2014. In July, Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt gave statement to investigation officer K Subhash, Deputy SP, Vaikom, that the survivor nun had complained about Franco earlier, but since the complaint was not filed in writing, he did not take any action.
In September 2018, the survivor wrote a letter to Giambattista Diquattro, Vaticanâ€™s Apostolic Nuncio (a diplomatic mission) alleging the bishop had been using the wealth of the diocese and his power to divert police investigation against him. She also alleged that the bishop had arranged people to attack her and her companions who supported her.