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    70-year old Catholic priest in accused of molesting minors

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    Kochi: A 70-year old Catholic priest allegedly molested three minor girls when they visited him to seek blessings at his church office in Chendamangalam in Ernakulam district last month, the police said on Friday.

    The priest, George Padayatty, vicar of a Syrian Catholic Church in Chendamangalam, has been absconding after a case was registered against him in connection with the incident, police said.

    He has been charged under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), an official at Vadakkekara Police Station told PTI.

    According to the police, the incident occurred a month ago when the nine-year old girls went to the priest's office to seek his blessings after service in the Church.

    A source in the Syro-Malabar Church said the priest has been suspended by the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.

    He has been directed to cooperate with the police investigation into the incident, sources said.

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