As a Kerala nun appealed to the Vatican for support in her complaint of rape against a bishop, the accused man claimed he was being implicated for taking disciplinary action against the woman.
“I think some internal forces are using these nuns for some advantage. The anti-church elements are pushing these nuns forward to raise their own issues. There is a conspiracy behind this. A few people are taking advantage of this. I will cooperate with all legal measures,” Bishop Franco Mulackal said today.
“If I am found guilty, which I am not, I am likely to be punished…I will appear before police if I am summoned. I am a law abiding citizen,” he added.
Terming the allegations “serious”, the bishop said only three persons knew the truth. “The complainant’s sister, myself and God (know the truth),” he said.
The nun, in her late 40s, has accused the 54-year-old priest of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016, a charge that he has denied. The bishop has been charged and was questioned last month but he has not been arrested. As the nun fights for justice, four nuns have come out in her support and joined protests in Kerala to press for action. The nuns have defied their Missionaries of Jesus Congregation, which has supported the bishop and made fresh allegations.
The congregation alleged that the nun had “questionable relations with a local taxi driver” and ”a physical relationship with a relative’s husband”. They also alleged she attended an event with Bishop Mulackal the day after the alleged rape. It also alleged that the nun had retaliated after the bishop took disciplinary action against her for the alleged affair.
In a letter to the Vatican’s India representative on Saturday, the nun said that the bishop was using all the money and power at his disposal to derail the case and buy his way out of the charges.
Accused of stalling action under pressure, the police have denied that any forces are at work to stop the investigation.
Police sources blamed the Kerala flood crisis for the delay and said the investigations were “going in the best manner possible” and all steps had been taken to protect the nuns.
“After the bishop’s questioning, serious discrepancies have emerged in the statement of the bishop and the nun,” the sources said, promising to take a “decisive position within two weeks”.