Kerala Christian priest held for allegedly sexually abusing boys for over six months

Father George TJ, alias Jerry, was allegedly abusing six minors at a boys’ home in Kochi, which he was heading.
Kerala Christian priest held for allegedly sexually abusing boys for over six months
Kerala Christian priest held for allegedly sexually abusing boys for over six months
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A Kerala priest has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing the children of a boys' home in Kochi. Father George TJ, alias Jerry, was the director of a boys’ home in Kochi run by Carmelites order under the diocese of Cochin. He was nabbed on Sunday by the police after the parents of some boys filed a complaint.

The accused has been allegedly abusing six minors of the institution for over a period of six months. The incident came to light after some children accidentally spoke about the abuse among themselves.

According to the police, some children at the boys’ home had gone out to play but reached the institution in the evening after the curfew. As punishment, the priest asked the staff to not let the boys enter the premises.

“It was when these boys were standing outside the home that they, by chance, discussed among themselves the abuse they have been facing from the priest. Until then, none of the children knew others were also abused by the priest and did not even talk about it to anybody. After this discussion, they were further afraid of the repercussions if the priest knew. They instead decided to apprise their parents of the abuse,” an official of Palluruthy police station told TNM.

Being a holiday, children returned home on Saturday and informed their parents about the alleged abuse.

There are about 15 children in total staying at this boys’ home. According to police officials, many of them came from underprivileged backgrounds. "Many hail from financially unstable or broken families, either living with their mother or father. Some parents don’t even have the means to look after the children. So they make them stay in the boys’ home run by priests. We were informed by the parents that Rs 250 is given as fee to the institution. Children stay here and go to schools nearby,” said the official.

As per the statement of children, some of them were allegedly being abused from December 2018.

The arrest was made 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).

After the arrest was registered, Father George has been remanded to police custody.

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