The Chennai police has booked preachers Samuel Jaisunder and Reuben Clement for sexual harassment, based on a complaint from Scripture Union. The case has been registered in the Ayanavaram station, according to police sources, but is likely to be shifted to Vellore shortly.
The complaint was given by Scripture Union, an organisation that promotes the teachings in the Bible, on October 6 after over 25 minors and women shared screenshots alleging that the preachers had behaved unacceptably or texted them inappropriate content. While the Union had actually received a complaint from the father of a 19-year-old in August about Samuel Jaisunder, they failed to act till the matter escalated on social media.
In the complaint sent by the National Director of Scripture Union, Joshua Kirubaraj, it was stated that the father of the young woman from Vellore had contacted the organisation and said that Samuel Jaisunder had sent inappropriate text messages to his daughter and that both of them had been chatting with each other for a while. Based on the complaint from the father, the Union had told the preacher that he cannot visit schools and also restricted him from interacting with school children.
They however failed to conduct an inquiry into the matter and have further admitted to TNM that they do not have an Internal Committee (IC).
After the screenshots posted on social media by Twitter user @joelgiftson17 however, the organisation was forced to act. In their complaint they wrote, "Subsequently upon enquiry we found that it was most unbecoming of our employees to have indulged in sending inappropriate text messages on social media to girl students and have tarnished the image of our organisation due to the above delinquencies during their employment with us. We have suspended both Mr.Samuel Jaisunder and Mr.Reuben Clement from their services with the Scripture Union and we called upon them to respond to the various allegations made against them. We hereby report these incidents for your information and appropriate action."
Chennai Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal then immediately took cognisance of the case and ordered an inquiry to clarify any further details. An FIR has now been filed in the Ayanavaram station and both the preacher have been booked under 354(A)(Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty), 67 (A) (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form.) of the Information Technology Act 2008. read with Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.