A priest and two nuns of a Kerala church surrendered before the police on Friday in connection with the rape of a 17-year-old girl. The three had been accused of shielding another priest of St Sebastian church in Kottiyoor, Father Robin Vaddakumchiryil, who had allegedly raped the minor last year.
Former Wayanad Child Welfare Committee Chairman Father Thomas Joseph Therakam, committee member Betty Jose and orphanage superintendent Sister Ophelia gave themselves up to Peravoor Circle Inspector Sunil Kumar. “They surrendered at 6.30 am... they will be produced before the court in the afternoon after questioning and medical examination,” Kumar said, according to NDTV.
The trio surrendered after the Kerala High Court ordered them to do so on March 14 while hearing their anticipatory bail plea. A fourth person, Thankamma, who was also accused of covering up the incident is, still on the run, reported The Times of India.
Vaddakumchiryil, the vicar of St Sebastian church in Kottiyoor, was arrested on February 28. Although the incident had taken place in May 2016, the matter came to light only on February 7 after the minor gave birth to a boy at a private hospital in Kuthuparamba.
The priest along with the other accused allegedly had the baby sent to an orphanage in Wayanad as soon as he was born. The officials of the orphanage said they had informed the CWC about the child on February 8 but that it did not initiate any action. The CWC did not record the newborn until February 20 and later signed the placement order without any verification, according to The Times of India.
Besides these four, several other accused in the case are also missing. This includes staff members – gynaecologist Tessy Jose, administrator Ancy Mathew and pediatrician Hyderali –from Christu Raj Hospital where the baby was born, and two other nuns.