Kerala Police charges Bishop Franco Mulakkal in nun rape case

A special investigation team of the Kerala Police on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, seven months after he was arrested over allegations of raping and sexually assaulting a nun.

The chargesheet was filed in a magistrate court at Pala in Kottayam district.

Mulakkal was former Bishop of Jalandhar diocese and a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy in India.

The nun, who belongs to Missionaries of Jesus congregation under Jalandhar diocese, had accused the 55-year-old clergyman of repeatedly raping and having unnatural sex with her between 2014 and 2016.

He allegedly committed the offence when he was the Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese.

He has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 376C (sexual intercourse by person in authority), section 377 (unnatural sex) and 506(1) (criminal threat), official sources said.

In her complaint to police in June, the nun had alleged that Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions.

She said she had to approach police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.

Mulakkal, however, has claimed that he was "absolutely innocent" and "falsely implicated" with an "ulterior motive and vexatious intention".

(with news agency inputs)