Thiruvananthapuram: The trial court in Kerala's Kottayam has concluded the hearing of the nun rape case in which the accused is Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The Kottayam additional district court judge G. Gopakumar on Monday reserved its verdict and added that the judgement will be pronounced on January 14, Friday.
It was while serving as Bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church that he was accused of raping a nun, who belonged to the Missionaries of Jesus congregation. During his visits between 2014 and 2016 to Kerala, he was accused of raping the 43-year old nun on 13 occasions. Later, he was removed from the charge of the Jalandhar diocese.
The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district in June 2018 in Kerala and Mulakkal was arrested on September 21, 2018. He secured bail on October 16, 2018.
The Special Investigation Team which probed the case arrested the Bishop and charged him with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation. The court had restrained the print and electronic media from publishing any matter relating to the trial in the case without its permission
The trial in the case had started in November 2019. The charge sheet names 83 witnesses, including the Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and 22 nuns. Of the 83 witnesses, 39 were called and they were heard.
Incidentally, Franco had approached the Kerala High Court and also the Supreme Court to quash the FIR against him, but both the courts refused to do so and the trial began and has now concluded.