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Another Kerala Nun Accuses Bishop Franco of Harassment, Sexting

Her statement has now been released by ‘Save our Sisters’ (SOS) forum.

Updated
India
2 min read
Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Image used for representational purposes.
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A second woman from the Missionaries of Jesus has accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of sexual harassment and sexting, even while the trial of rape case against the Jalandhar bishop is yet to begin, according to The News Minute.

The 35-year-old woman belongs to the same missionary as the first nun who had accused Franco for raping her multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

Her statement has now been released by 'Save our Sisters' (SOS) forum. According to the nun's statement to the Kuravilangad Police in September 2018, the bishop sent her lewd messages on her phone, adding that he behaved inappropriately with her.

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‘I Was Only Looking for Friendship’

“I used to call him regarding issues related to the convent, and it turned into a friendship. Between 2015 and 2017, we used to send messages on WhatsApp, call each other and do video calls. I was only looking for friendship. But by the end of 2015, his remarks became sexual in nature,” she stated.

The Kannur native further said, “I feel hatred and aversion to it and felt hurt my self-esteem. But he continued to talk obscene things. Later, he would talk about things that were sexual in nature and did video chats describing his body and mine too.”

The nun also added that she was no interested in sexting, but did not have the courage to oppose Franco because he was the head of their congregation.

It was after she found herself in a controversy over her friendship with another man and was sent to Kerala as punishment.

The nun wrote, "Between April and May 2017, I lived in a convent in Kerala. Franco came to the convent to conduct a probe about my conduct. His driver and Father Antony were with the bishop but they lived in separate rooms. Franco called me to his room and asked me for an explanation. While I was leaving, he hugged me and kissed me on my forehead."

‘Nun Not Allowed to Leave Convent, Talk to Outsiders’

She is the fourteenth witness in the rape case and the revelations that are part of her statement is also part of the chargesheet against Franco in the case.

"After the nun gave this statement, the convent tried to silence her by not allowing her to leave the convent or talk to anyone outside. It was only recently that we got to know about the treatment meted out to her by the convent authorities. That is why we decided to release the statement she gave the police in 2018. This is a statement that she has signed,” said Riju Kanjoorkaran, a convener of SOS told The News Minute.

He added that the police should have registered another FIR when they learnt about another nun accusing Franco of sexual harassment.

The first nun of Missionaries of Jesus had accused Franco for raping her many times at the Kuruvilangadu convent in Kottayam. After filing a police complaint, the FIR was registered in June 2018.

It was only after weeks of protests by other nuns of the congregation that Franco was held in September 2018, the same time as when the second nun gave her statement to the police.

(With inputs from The News Minute)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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