After Torture Allegations, Church Pays Rs 12 Lakh to Kerala Nun

A Catholic Church in Kerala pays Rs 12 lakh to a nun as settlement. Is this a new precedent or as activists allege, a way to silence her? 

Updated
India
2 min read
The nun, who is from Kannur in northern Kerala, has alleged that she was expelled after she resisted the advances of a priest. (Photo: Reuters) 

In an unprecedented move, the Catholic Church in Kerala will pay Rs 12 lakh to a nun. She had accused her convent of torture and had alleged that she was expelled after she resisted the advances of a priest.

According to The Telegraph, the money was given to the nun to ‘settle her’. The settlement was reached after negotiations between the Catholic Church and representatives of the nun. According to the terms of settlement, the nun has to return her robes. She was a part of the Sisters of St Agatha convent in Aluva near Kochi and had threatened to sit-in near the convent, if her demand to be taken back was not met.

Despite the amicable settlement in place, the Church has labelled her accusations of sexual harassment as false.

The issue with Sister is settled very amicably. We are giving her Rs 12 lakhs to help her to settle herself in life. She did not tell me of any torture in the convent. Stories of torture and sexual harassment are not at all true and she does not hold any such grievances.

—Paul Thelekkat, Spokesperson, Syro Malabar Catholic Church

On the other hand, activists and former victims of sexual harassment within the convent are calling the settlement as a way “to seal the nun’s mouth”.

According to a former nun who had walked out of the Church in 2008, alleging “physical and mental abuse”.

The Church may claim it is a living allowance, but in reality it is to ensure that she does not speak out any more. Even when I quit, well-wishers had advised me to ask for compensation. But I think the honour of a woman who dedicated herself to a spiritual life in the faith that it was safe is worth much more than a few lakhs of rupees.
Jesme, Former Nun and Rights Activist



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