‘Franco Mulakkal was falsely accused of defaming Christianity’: Bishop’s lawyer claims conspiracy

After Kottayam Sessions Court acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal of all charges in the rape case of a Kerala nun, his lawyer claimed that the victim was trying to falsely accuse the Bishop, due to “the influence of certain elements”. Speaking to Republic after the sensational claim, the lawyer said the case was not against Bishop Franco Mulakkal but against Christianity.

“It was a false complaint filed four years ago. She was joined by police officers and paid intermediaries. This case was not against the bishop but against Christianity. As a nun, she could have settled disputes within the church in court because she was acting as a pawn for certain elements,” the lawyer alleged.

Reacting to the possibility of the survivor being transferred to the Kerala High Court, the lawyer said: “You can move to secondary court, we are ready to fight. There is nothing she can prove further. .”

After 26 months of trial, the Kerala court found Franco Mulakkal not guilty of raping a nun from the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kuravilangad. Notably, the media were prohibited from reporting details of the trial, as requested by Bishop Franco’s lawyer.

Kerala nun rape case

A Kerala nun had rocked the Catholic Church with allegations that Franco assaulted her 13 times during his visits to the convent between 2014 and 2016. The rape case against the bishop was filed by district police of Kottayam in 2018, having started in November 2019. Franco was the first Catholic bishop in India to be arrested for rape, based on a complaint from a nun. The court had concluded the hearing on January 10 and reserved its verdict in the case.

The statement had significance, due to the victim’s three-year fight for justice for one of the most influential and powerful bishop leaders in the Roman Catholic Church. In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun alleged that she had been sexually abused by Franco, then bishop of Jalandhar, between 2014 and 2016.

The special investigative team that investigated the case arrested Bishop and charged him with forcible confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation. If Bishop Franco had been convicted of the crime, he would have faced a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Image: Republic/ANI

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