Kerala Priest, Nuns Accused of Shielding Child Rapist Surrender

The eighth, ninth and tenth accused surrendered, following instructions from the Kerala High Court.

The three co-accused who allegedly helped Kottiyoor priest Robin Vadakkumchery in hushing up the rape of a child, after which the minor gave birth to a baby, have surrendered before the investigating officer on Friday morning.

Former Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairman Fr Joseph Therakam, Sr Ophilia, the Superintendent of Holy Infant Mary orphanage at Wayanad and another nun, Sr Betty, have surrendered before the investigation officer Sunil Kumar, Circle Inspector of Peravoor.

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The eighth, ninth and tenth accused surrendered following instructions from the Kerala High Court rejecting their bail plea. HC had ordered their surrender before 17 March.

Fr Therakam, who was also the spokesperson of Mananthavady Archdiocese, was later suspended from the post as the government removed him as CWC chairman following the controversy.

Police say that CWC had tried to cover up the child rape and helped Fr Robin.

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After the minor’s delivery, the baby was brought to the Holy Infant Mary orphanage and the nuns there allegedly tried to hide the incident. But Ophilia, in her bail plea in HC, claimed that orphanage officials had informed CWC the very next day after the baby was brought to the orphanage. She also said in the statement that the orphanage authorities had no idea that the baby’s mother was a minor.

Sr Betty Jose was also a CWC member who worked in a hospital in Wayanad. Nuns of the orphanage had claimed that they met the baby’s mother from the hospital Betty worked.

The High Court had also asked the second accused Thankamma Nelliyani, who aided the survivor during her pregnancy and childbirth, to surrender. However, she has not yet surrendered.

The bail plea of the third, fourth and fifth accused – Dr Tessy Jose, a nun and gynaecologist at Christu Raj Hospital Thokkilangadi, who delivered the survivor’s child; Dr Hyderali, paediatrician in the hospital, and Sr Ancy Mathew, the hospital administrator – are under HC’s consideration as their arrests have been temporarily stopped by the court.

Robin Vadakkumchery was arrested on 28 February while he was trying to escape to Canada.

(This story was orginally published in The News MInute.)