The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted conditional bail to Job Mathew, a Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church priest who was arrested on July 12 from Kollam, in connection with a rape and molestation case. He had been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a 34-year-old woman.
Justice V Rajavijaya Raghavan ordered Mathew to appear before the investigating officer twice a week, and warned him against influencing witnesses or tampering with the evidence, PTI reported. The court also directed the priest not to leave the country.
Mathew is the second accused in the case. Three weeks ago, the Kerala Police Crime Branch had booked four priests of the church on charges of rape and molestation. On July 11, the Kerala High Court dismissed anticipatory bail pleas filed by three of them, including Mathew.
The priests have been accused of blackmailing and sexually abusing the woman for three years. In a letter to the church in June, the woman’s husband 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.
Following the allegations, the church sent the priests on leave