A Thalassery POCSO court had sentenced Fr Robin to a total of 60 years in February 2019, but later allowed three terms to be served together.

Robin Vadakkumchery Kerala priest rape case Thalassery POCSO
news Court Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 09:46

A year after Kerala Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery, 52, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping and impregnating a minor girl, he has now moved the Kerala High Court making an outrageous offer. He wants to marry the survivor and 'take care of the child born to her'. The convict has approached the court seeking two months bail to prepare for the wedding.

The prosecution, however, has categorically denied this suggestion and said it could be a ploy to get relaxation for the 20-year prison term. "Every rape convict can then offer to marry the survivor, we cannot encourage such suggestions," Suman Chakravarti, the Public Prosecutor, told TNM.

Father Robin has also told court that the survivor was ready for the marriage. A police official who was part of filing the status report in court said that the survivor was now studying again and had a good chance of rebuilding her life.

The Thalassery POCSO court had sentenced Robin on February 17, 2019, to a total of 60 years under different sections, but the court later allowed him to serve three sentences together, which brought his total jail term to 20 years.

The court has sought a police report and posted the case for July 24.

Vadakkumchery was dismissed from priesthood by the Vatican. He was serving as a parish vicar near Kannur and was the manager of the Church-backed school, where the rape survivor, a Class 11 student who was then 16 years old, was studying. The girl gave birth to a child on February 7, 2017, at Christu Raj hospital in Kannur.

A child line agency, which works among school children, had registered the complaint against the priest.

Read: The cover-up: How a network of institutions shielded rape accused Catholic priest and helpers

Father Robin's influence on the family was so powerful that during the initial days of investigation, the girl’s father had taken the blame, claiming responsibility for raping and impregnating his daughter.

It was later revealed that the father took upon the blame 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 priest soon came under pressure and was arrested on February 27, 2018. The six persons who helped cover up the incident were also booked.

However, during the trial, the Court had declared the survivor hostile after she claimed in court that she had attained the age of consent. The survivor, then an adult in 2018, had told the court that she was ready to marry Father Robin and raise the child together.

Read: Kerala Catholic priest rape case: Was minor victim coerced to say sex was consensual?

The court verdict was primarily on the basis of the live birth certificate of the survivor 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 protection of the survivor as well as the child to the legal services authority.

The six others — four nuns, another priest and one more woman attached to the convent — who were accused of covering up the incident were all acquitted by the court citing lack of substantial evidence.

In March, the Manthavady (in Wayanad district) a dioceses official said the Vatican had dismissed Vadakkumchery from the priesthood. The papers related to the Pope's decision, taken on December 5, 2019, were given to the jailed priest.

Read: Exclusive: Kerala Catholic body’s bizarre justification, says consumerism led to rape by priest

Inputs IANS

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