The Congregation of Christian Brothers in India, affiliated to the Catholic church, said on Tuesday that it would initiate an investigation into charges of sexual abuse against one of its members. “We are committed to a just and fair hearing to both the complainant and the alleged harasser through a formal process as laid out in our protection policy,” the statement said.
Last week, a woman from Meghalaya accused two clergy members of the Catholic Church of sexual abuse in a Facebook post. Mary Therese Kurkalang, an art manager and communication consultant, alleged that Brother Francis Gale of Christian Brothers and Brother Muscat of the Salesians of Don Bosco order had abused her several times as a child, driving her to attempt suicide three times. The abuse, Kurkalang said in an interview with Scroll.in, continued for many years – from the mid-eighties to the early-nineties.
Kurkalang said an internal inquiry on the basis of another complaint, which also listed out other victims, was initiated by the Christian Brothers five or six years ago, but nothing had came out of it. The organisation did not respond to Scroll.in’s queries seeking details of this enquiry. The Salesians of Don Bosco order also did not respond to emails, calls and messages seeking comment on allegations against its member, Brother Muscat.
Kurkalang said she decided to go public with her ordeal after seeing several women do so during the last couple of weeks as part of the #MeToo movement. “I want to put it out there to say that this is not something you need to hide and put under the carpet,” she said.
Kurkalang added that she was not certain at this stage if she wanted to pursue the matter legally. “I have put a lot of thought into this,” she said. “Putting it out there is my closure.”