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Trial court finds Franco Mulakkal not guilty of raping nun

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Trial court finds Franco Mulakkal not guilty of raping nun
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Kottayam: Former Jalandhar Bishop, Franco Mulakkal, has been exonerated from the charges of raping a nun by the Kottayam Additional District Court in Kerala. The trial court found Franco not guilty, for the priest argued that the rape accusation was retaliation for an action he had taken against the nun.

Franco was the first Catholic Bishop to be arrested in a rape case in India, against whom a slew of other charges have also been lodged, including illegal confinement, sexual harassment through abuse of power, unnatural sex, rape and outraging the modesty of a woman.

The victim nun had filed an FIR before the Kottayam SP in June 2018, in which she accused him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. Despite the FIR, the accused Bishop was enjoying protection from arrest until a public outcry for his arrest, following which he had to spend 25 days in judicial custody.

He has several charges under 7 IPC sections, including rape against him, and is now out after securing bail. During the trial, the court witnessed the prosecution examining 39 witnesses in the case. The prosecution's arguments were found to be not worthy before the court, though there had been serious retaliatory actions against the nun followed by the complaint.

The accused had even approached the Supreme Court to quash the FIR in this case, but the petition was dismissed. The charge sheet against Mulakkal names 83 witnesses, including the Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and 22 nuns.

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