A Catholic priest from Kannur in Kerala was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Saturday for raping and impregnating a minor girl, NDTV reported. Robin Vadakkumchery, 51, has been sentenced to 60 years in jail in three different cases of rape and abuse of minor girls but will serve only 20 years as the prison terms are concurrent.
“The court has clearly said that criminal proceedings must be initiated against the parents of the minor mother,” public prosecutor Beena told the news channel. “I am yet to get the full order copy, but it is likely to be because the parents tried covering up and changed their statement.”
Six people – including five nuns and an administrator – who were accused of covering up the incident were acquitted because of lack of substantial evidence, reported The News Minute.
The incident came to light in February 2017. During the trial, the girl’s father had claimed responsibility for the rape because of extreme pressure from the church. “He was under such immense pressure that he was ready to take the blame and owned up to a heinous crime that he had never committed,” an unidentified childline officer had told The News Minute while the hearings were on. “But soon, he broke down and said that it was Father Robin’s baby, and that has been established beyond doubt with DNA tests.”
The victim, who used to study in a church-run institution when the rape occurred, and her mother had also turned hostile, stating that she was above 18 at the time of the incident. However, the court based its verdict on the live birth certificate of the victim, which showed that she was a minor in 2016 when the rape had occurred.