Kerala Vicar ‘Sexually Assaults’ Woman During Ayurvedic Treatment
The vicar was an unauthorised Ayurvedic practitioner and allegedly sexually assaulted the woman.
A Kerala vicar, accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman, was arrested by Adimaly police in Idukki on Monday, 12 October.
The accused, identified as 55-year-old Fr Reji Palakkadan, is the vicar of Panickankudy church, a Jacobite Syrian church, in Adimaly. According to police, the accused was also practising as an ayurvedic medical practitioner. The woman had gone to him to seek treatment.
“The woman accused the vicar of sexually assaulting her during the consultation. Following the incident, the woman, along with her parents, came to the police station to file a complaint. The accused was arrested last night. He was presented to the court and was remanded,” an official of the Adimaly police station told The News Minute.
The official also added that the woman had approached the vicar for treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD). “The woman has complained that he touched her inappropriately under the pretext of examining her,” the official said.
Palakkadan has been booked under sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354 (A) (1) (Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police also told TNM that the vicar was not a registered ayurvedic medical practitioner. “It is not clear whether he has any qualifications. We have to probe that. But it is confirmed that he was practising without proper authorisation,” the official noted.
This is not the first time that Kerala Christian priests have been accused of sexual assault and rape. Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a Kerala native, is accused of having raped a nun multiple times. He is under bail and is undergoing trial in the case.
Robin Vadakkumchery is another Kerala priest who was convicted for raping a minor and impregnating her in 2016. He was dismissed from his priesthood by the Vatican. In July, he moved the Kerala High Court with an outrageous "offer," stating that he would marry the survivor and take care of the child.
(This article has been published in arrangement with The News Minute)
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