The Kerala government decided to file an appeal against a trial court verdict that acquitted former bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was accused of repeatedly raping a nun, The Hindu reported on Saturday.

Special Public Prosecutor Jithesh Babu said that the decision to file an appeal was taken after a detailed analysis of the judgement.

The prosecution has contended that the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court had termed all of its witnesses as unbelievable on minor grounds. It has also said that the verdict appeared to suggest that the act was consensual, which was not claimed even by the accused person.

In June 2018, the nun who filed the complaint had claimed that she was sexually abused by Mulakkal between 2014 and 2016 when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of Roman Catholic Church.

Mulakkal had accused the nun of seeking revenge for ordering an inquiry into a complaint against her. He was removed from his post after the allegations.

The Additional Sessions Court acquitted him on January 14.

Kottayam district police chief Shilpa Devaiah said that the police have taken steps to ensure the safety of nuns who protested against the former bishop. “We have done the risk assessment, which will be reviewed periodically and the security arrangement will continue as long as they require it,” she said, according to The Hindu.

Meanwhile, Mulakkal visited former MLA PC George after the judgement and also visited several churches, PTI reported. George has been expressing support for the former bishop after the allegations were made against him.

In August 2020, a court in Kerala had framed charges against the former bishop including repeated rape, misuse of authority, punishment for wrongful confinement and use of criminal intimidation to molest a woman, among other sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The court had granted him bail with strict conditions that he should not leave the state and directed him to attend all hearings in the case.