Father Basil Kuriakose, the Principal of King David International School, has been arrested by Kerala police for allegedly molesting a 10 year old boy. King David International School is a boarding school and the unfortunate incident happened on the night of 21st Dec 2016 when the child was alone after all other students went home for Christmas vacation. The distraught boy told the incident to his brother who came to meet him. Subsequently the parents were informed and  the complaint was lodged against the 65 year old priest. The priest was booked for indulging in unnatural sex with the 10 year old.

Except for a few reports, the whole media is silent on the incident. Imagine such an incident involving a Hindu priest. Hysterical debates of child right activists and over-concerned journalists would have ripped the whole religion apart.

It has been observed that in Third World countries, Church related sexual abuse cases are not reported much. The crimes of the clergy are not discussed and most of the cases go unnoticed and never reach the stage of formal complaint. In India, missionary mafia has become strong in the past few decades. The cases of sexual abuse by pedophile priests are only heard as rumours and hushed up before they can be reported.

In 1992, Sister Abhaya of Kottayam, Kerala was found murdered. After investigation two priests were arrested. These two priests had a sexual relationship with another Sister Sephy. Once when they entered the convent to meet Sister Sephy, they happened to bang into Abhaya. Scared that they would be exposed, they eliminated her.

In 2005, an Indian Priest Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, working in Minnesota, sexually assaulted a minor. After a legal battle of 10 years, in 2015, Minnesota court sentenced him to a year in prison. After serving the short prison term, Jeyapaul returned to India. Shockingly, he resumed his duties soon after, as the Church of Southern India had lifted the suspension against him. The Church conveniently forgot that he got short term in jail based on plea bargain that he will never resume ministerial duties.

In 2014, Raju Kokkan, a priest in Thrissur was arrested for molesting a 10 year old girl and taking her inappropriate pictures in his mobile. After the girl informed her parents of the rape, the priest fled to Nagarcoil , but was arrested later on. Same year 3 more Catholic priests were arrested in Kerala for raping minors.

In 2013, Fathima Sophia daughter of Shanthi Roselin was found murdered at the residence of Father Arockiaraj, the priest of Walayar, Kerala. The all powerful Church did everything to cover up the case. After fighting for three years, Shanthi exposed how a secret canonical court removed Arockiaraj from his position, how Rome hushed up the whole matter through secret correspondence and how police officers handling the case were transferred.

Last year, a girl lodged a police complaint in Kozhikode. She accused the priest of Nadakkavu, for sexually harassing her over emails. Her complaints to the Bishop at Malabar Diocese were not taken seriously. She was told by the Bishop to attend some other perish. The priest was transferred for a brief period but was back soon. Only after the police complaint he was charged while the Church remained defiant.

In all these incidents, victims were discouraged, their complaints ignored, cases manipulated and the culprits dealt with leniency. These incidents are just the tip of an iceberg as the muck runs deeper. Most incidents go unreported. Media is oblivious to the church crimes for obvious reasons. Media mafia and missionary mafia are hands in gloves as their funding is from common sources. A nun is raped by an outsider and the case gets international attention. Church crimes, sexual abuse and scandals are hushed up. Waiting for  Mahesh Bhatt, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar to make a movie a la Hollywood movie Spotlight or prime time debates on channels with Kancha Ilaiah and John Dayal as panelists or a book by Barkha Dutt and Rana Ayyub on sexual abuse in churches by priests.


Rita Gupta

@RitaG74