Abraham Varghese is the first accused in the case that has rocked the Orthodox church in Kerala and in the video made disparaging remarks about the woman’s character.

No time for court but rape accused priest uploads video revealing details of survivor
news Crime Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 18:07

He is a man accused of sexual assault and of blackmailing a woman for many years for sexual favours. Rejected bail by the Kerala High Court, he has refused to surrender and has been absconding for days. But that did not stop Father Abraham Varghese alias Soni Varghese from posting a 12 minute video on YouTube describing his ‘innocence’ and denigrating the survivor.

Abraham Varghese is the first accused in the case of a sex scandal that has rocked the Orthodox church in Kerala. The woman in her statement to the Crime Branch had said that she was in a relationship with him in 1999, when she was 16 years old. Varghese, even after becoming a priest and even after both of them were married to other individuals forced her to continue the relationship, she alleged.

In the video that he uploaded on YouTube, the man attached to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox church gave away the name of the survivor and her husband and their location. He also made disparaging remarks about the woman’s character and claimed that he was not present at the locations in which she had alleged the acts of assault took place.

“On May 14, I was summoned by the bishop and at the time he told me about the complaint by the woman’s husband. I had denied everything. I had asked in writing for the full text of the complaint against me. On June 19, I got the copy of the complaint and the related documents attached to it. From the documents, what I have understood is that it was written in the presence of Brijith, a nun and principal of Sophia school Anikkad, the father of the woman, and her in-laws, but none of them have signed on it,” he says in the video.

The priest also claimed that the news that he had been absconding was baseless.  

The video has emerged on a day when the Supreme Court reserved judgment on the bail petition that he had filed.

Two other priests, who are also accused of sexually assaulting the survivor, have been arrested. Denying them bail a few days ago, the Kerala High Court had said that all the accused are clergymen, who were in a position of dominance over the woman and had exploited the said status. The judge had said that he found no reason to ignore the woman’s statement as she had given the magistrate a graphic description as to ‘how she was threatened and forced to succumb to the carnal desires of the accused’. Calling all the accused predators, the court had rejected them bail.

Kerala church sex-for-silence case: Survivor tells cops how her story unfolded from 1999

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