The Kerala Police’s Crime Branch on Monday booked four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian church on charges of raping and molesting a woman, according to IANS.
“It was true that in the initial news reports, there were five priests, but in [the woman’s] complaint, only four of them have been named,” said Inspector General of Police S Sreejith.
Sreejith said the woman will be asked to give a statement before a magistrate, following which the investigating team will decide on the course of action. “At the moment, arrests of the four might not happen, as there are formalities and procedures to be undertaken,” Sreejith said.
The four priests were identified as Abraham Varghese, Job Mathew, Johnson V Mathew and Jaise George, according to News18.
The priests were accused of blackmailing and sexually abusing the woman for three years. In a letter to the church, the woman’s husband, from Tiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district, claimed that the priests used his wife’s confession, which is meant to be a secret under church laws, to blackmail her. He named eight people in the letter and sought action against them.