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Indian Catholic priest gets bail in sexual abuse case

Syro-Malankara Church has not launched an internal probe against Father Benedict Anto as he is facing a police enquiry

Benedict Anto, a priest of Syro Malankara Catholic Church based in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, was granted bail a month after he was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing some women

Benedict Anto, a priest of Syro Malankara Catholic Church based in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, was granted bail a month after he was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing some women. (Photo: hindupost.in)

Published: April 28, 2023 04:09 AM GMT

Updated: April 28, 2023 05:37 AM GMT

A Catholic priest in a southern Indian state has been granted bail after he was remanded in custody for over a month for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage student and four other women.

A local court in Nagercoil, in Tamil Nadu's Kanniyakumari district, granted conditional bail to Father Benedict Anto, a member of Marthandam diocese of the eastern rite Syro-Malankara Church, on April 24. 

“The diocese suspended the priest soon after police acted against him,” Father S Varghese, the vicar-general of the diocese, told UCA News on April 27.

“He has been restrained from exercising his priestly ministry,”  Varghese added.

The diocese, according to Varghese, “has not launched an internal probe against Father Anto as he is already facing a police inquiry.” 

The principal district and session court judge in his bail order directed the priest to cooperate with the cyber police who are probing the case and also not to intimidate the complainants or tamper with evidence.

The priest, according to reports, absconded after videos of his intimate relations with women went viral on social media.

Subsequently, a teenage nursing student lodged a complaint with the cyber police seeking action against the priest. In her complaint, the student alleged that the priest had sexually abused her and threatened her via social media platforms as she refused to cooperate with his salacious demands.

The police registered a case against the priest who is involved in the preaching ministry.

Later, four other women complained against the priest. 

Currently, police are verifying their accusations.

The Syro-Malankara Church is part of the Catholic Church, along with the Eastern rite Syro-Malabar Church and the Latin Church. 

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