Kerala priest Fr Robin Vadakkumchery of the Mananthavady diocese who was convicted of raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Thalassery POCSO court on Thursday. Fr Robin, the prime accused and sole convict in the case has also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 3 lakh.
The court on Saturday morning had convicted Fr Robin and acquitted 6 others, including 5 nuns and an administrator, who was accused of covering up the incident for lack of substantial evidence. While, Fr Robin's sentece was a total of 60 years under different sections, the court allowed him to serve it together, reducing it to 20 years. The court has also directed action to be taken against the victim’s parents for giving false testimony.
Earlier, the girl’s father had taken the blame, claiming responsibility for raping and impregnating his daughter, due to extreme pressure from the church. “He was under such immense pressure that he was ready to take the blame and owned up to a heinous crime that he had never committed. But soon, he broke down and said that it was Father Robin’s baby, and that has been established beyond doubt with DNA tests,” a Childline officer had then told TNM.
The victim and her mother had also turned hostile, stating that the girl was above 18 when the incident happened.
However, the court verdict was primarily on the basis of the live birth certificate of the victim which showed that she was a minor in 2016, when the rape happened. DNA samples of the child born in 2017 also proved that Fr Robin was behind the rape of the minor who was studying in a church run institution.
Following the verdict, the court has handed over the protection of the victim as well as the child born out of the rape to the legal services authority.
The survivor was a student at the school where Fr Robin was teaching and had allegedly been raped by him several times in 2016. The abuse led to her giving birth at the Christu Raj Hospital, a church-run institution in Thokkilangadi, Kannur, on February 7, 2017.
The 6 others who were accused of covering up the incident were all acquitted by the court citing lack of substantial evidence.