Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was accused of sexually assaulting a nun, went in for questioning at Thripunithura Crime Branch Police Station on Wednesday morning, at 11 am. The Bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese reached Kerala after the Kerala police issued a summons for questioning him regarding the case.
The summons issued on September 12 directed him to appear before the police in relation to the sexual harassment charges levelled against him by a nun. The nun alleged that she was sexually assaulted by the bishop multiple times between 2014 and 2016 in Kuravilangad convent in Kerala. The nun filed a case in Kerala in June this year, and while the investigation was being done, and an FIR was filed, the bishop has not been arrested so far.
Following the delay in the case, five nuns sat on a protest before the Kerala High Court alleging that the police was not taking action against the bishop despite the survivor lodging a complaint on this regard.
The police meanwhile filed an affidavit in the Kerala High Court, which stated that there was indeed evidence to confirm the charges levelled against the bishop by the nun. The affidavit that was submitted to the court on August 13 stated, ‚ÄúDuring the course of the investigation so far conducted and the available evidences collected so far, it is revealed that the accused Bishop Franco committed unnatural offence and committed rape repeatedly on different dates from 05/05/2014 to 23/09/2016 on the complainant against the will and consent of her abusing his dominance over her as Bishop of Jalandhar after confining her in the guest room number 20 of St Francis Bishop Home Kuravilangad.‚ÄĚ
On September 13, the Kerala police filed another affidavit in the Kerala High Court citing that the discrepancies in the statements of the bishop, the complainant and the witness led to the delay in arresting the bishop.
Meanwhile the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ), to which the survivor belongs, and which is headed by Franco Mulakkal, has resorted to blaming her and thereby shielding the bishop. The congregation also said that the way the nun went on with her life after the alleged assault was enough proof to show that the allegations are not true. MJ also accused the police of going out of their way to help the nun.
The bishop, on Saturday, announced that he would be handing over the administration of the Jalandhar diocese to another priest, Father Mathew Kokkandam. He also requested his followers to continue their prayers for him and the victims and her supporters so that a ‚Äėdivine intervention may bring about change of heart and the truth of the matter may be revealed‚Äô.
He had also filed an anticipatory bail at the Kerala High Court on Tuesday stating that the charges levelled against him by the nun were fabricated and that she had some ‚Äėpersonal vengeance‚Äô against him. In his bail application, the Bishop had requested not to be arrested and said that he is willing to cooperate in all the processes of the investigation.