Shillong Church to Probe 2 Members Over Sexual Abuse Allegations

The State Commission for Women has urged the survivor to file a formal complaint against the accused persons.

2 min read
Photo used for representational purposes.

The Congregation of Christian Brothers in India, a religious community within the Catholic Church, on Tuesday, 23 October said it will initiate an inquiry to ascertain the truth, after one of its senior members was mired in the #MeToo controversy.

The Professional Ethics Commission of the community assured action against accused Brother Francis Gale if found guilty.

“Due procedure will be initiated as laid out in our policy – safeguarding children and vulnerable adults – to take this serious allegation forward towards arriving at the truth and assisting the victim with necessary help to attain due closure.”
Commission’s Protection Officer J Johnson in a Statement

He said the commission looks into all cases of abuse to find out the truth while taking appropriate action against the alleged abuser if found guilty.

As part of the ongoing #MeToo campaign, a woman named Mary Therese Kurkalang had last week accused Gale of sexually abusing her when he was serving at the St Edmund's School in Shillong. He is in West Bengal at present.

The survivor had alleged that Gale started abusing her since she was five years old and the abuse continued till she turned 12. She finally managed to “muster enough courage” to refuse meeting him as she was afraid of getting pregnant.

While the 40-year-old has also named Brother Muscat of the Salesians of Don Bosco, another society under the Catholic Church, the society refused to speak on the matter.

“We have already spoken to the state police and have nothing to say at the moment.”
Senior Member, Don Bosco Society, to PTI

State Commission for Women Urges Survivor to File Complaint

The State Commission for Women has urged the survivor to file a formal complaint against the accused persons.

“It would be advisable if the victim files a formal FIR so that the legal framework can be activated to its optimum.”
Theilin Phanbuh, Chairperson of Meghalaya State Commission for Women

She said that she would soon discuss the issue with other members of the Commission to decide whether to take suo motu action or not.

“The victim must file a FIR. It will definitely add teeth to the case and give ample space for a thorough investigation by relevant agencies of the government.”
Meena Kharkongor, Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Protection of Child Rights

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