The Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar church, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, who is accused of covering up the alleged rape of a nun by a Jalandhar bishop, on Monday issued a statement declaring that the Archbishop’s office did not receive any complaint from any nun regarding sexual harassment.
Speaking to The New Indian Express (TNIE), the official spokesperson of the church, Fr Jimmy Poochakkatt said, “Since the victim belongs to a congregation under the Jalandhar diocese of the Latin hierarchy, the Syro-Malabar Church and the Cardinal have no jurisdiction over the issue.”
According to TNIE, the statement said that a nun who introduced herself as a missionary worker from the Jalandhar diocese did meet the Cardinal a few months ago to complain about the problems she was facing because of the appointment and transfer policy of the diocese.
The statement reads, “The Cardinal made it clear the Syro-Malabar Church had no jurisdiction over the Jalandhar diocese. The Major Archbishop’s office had received a letter from the father of a nun under the Jalandhar diocese on November 23, 2017, which narrated the difficulties she faced. There was no mention of sexual harassment. Since the issue did not pertain to the Syro-Malabar Church, no action was taken on the complaint.”
The nun, who is now posted in Kottayam district of Kerala, has accused Bishop Franco Mullakkal of Jalandhar diocese of sexually abusing her since 2014. According to her complaint to the Kottayam SP which was filed on Friday, the bishop had sexually abused her multiple times.
Vaikkom DySP, who is currently investigating the case, told TNM that the bishop has been booked under Section 376 of the IPC (punishment for rape).
The police also said that the bishop has filed a complaint with the SP, alleging that the nun has raised allegations against him as a means of taking revenge.
The new case has come to light even as the Malankara Orthodox Church is mired in a similar controversy. The husband of a woman has accused five priests of various dioceses of sexually abusing his wife multiple times, after blackmailing her with her confessional secret. The Crime Branch is presently investigating the case.