The accused, as per the complaint, had sexually abused the 14-year-old boys for a year from March 2016.

Kerala priest arrested for sexually abusing minor boys at orphanage for a yearImage for Representation
news Crime Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 09:31

Update: On October 4, 2018, the Additional Sessions Judge­-I in Kalpetta acquitted the priest of all charges, holding that there is "no evidence to make this court believe" that the accused sexually assaulted minor boys at the orphanage. The court held, "I find that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charge levelled against the  accused beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the accused is entitled to acquittal."

A priest, identified as Father Saji Joseph, has been arrested by the police on charges of sexually abusing two minor boys of an orphanage in Wayanad.

The 45-year-old accused was arrested for allegedly abusing the inmates of a children's home, where he was the director. 

The home in Wayanad is run by a Christian congregation.

The accused, as per the complaint, had sexually abused the 14-year-old boys for a year beginning in March 2016, reports the Times of India.

“The accused has been charged under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code for unnatural offences, Section 9 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO) and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act," Circle Inspector MV Palani told The News Minute.

The institution which housed orphans and children from poor families stopped functioning in March, following a fall in the number of inmates, the TOI report says. The abuse came to light in June when one of the boys told his parents about it. 

The parents later contacted Childline authorities in Wayanad, who later informed the police and a case was registered based on their complaint.

Meenagadi police said that the priest worked as the director of the orphanage run by Roman Catholic congregation for around five years. The priest used to work in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka before joining as the director of the orphanage. 

He had been absconding after the incident came to light.  

Police went to Andhra Pradesh in search of him and later to Mangaluru as they were informed that he was staying with his relatives there. 

They took him into custody from Mangaluru on Monday.  

Palani added that the accused didn’t have a good reputation in the places where he had worked earlier. The accused has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.