The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Tuesday has filed a case against the Kerala Christian priest who was recently arrested by police for allegedly sexually abusing minor boys.
Father George TJ alias Jerry, director of a boys' home in Kochi which is run by the Carmelites order under the diocese of Cochin, was arrested on Sunday by the Palluruthy police after complaints from parents that six boys were being abused for over six months.
As per the officials of Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the institution was working without authorisation. The boys' home was closed down by the commission in March 2018.
The commission observed that accommodating children secretly without authorisation was a major offence. “The higher authorities of the institution will also have to face legal action as per the Juvenile Justice Act,” said Commission Chairperson P Suresh.
In the wake of these incidents, the commission has also directed police officials and officials of the Social Justice department to inspect the institutions in the state which had been closed down in 2018 for not being registered under the Juvenile Justice ( JJ) act.
The information regarding the alleged prolonged abuse came to light when some of the children were made to stand outside the boys' home by the accused for coming after the curfew timing. It was reportedly then that the children shared among themselves the abuse that they have been going through. The children, all of them under the age of 18 years, informed their parents about the incidents when they went home on Saturday.
There are about 15 children staying at the boys’ home and many of them hail from underprivileged backgrounds. As per their statement given to the police, some of them were allegedly being abused from December 2018.
Father George was arrested under sections 377 (unnatural offences) of the Indian Penal Code along with Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 Sections 7 (sexual assault), 8 (punishment for sexual assault) and 9(d) (aggravated sexual assault – by management/staff of protection home) read with 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault).