The former bishop of Jalandhar is also accused of "abuse of a position of power" and intimidation of the religious. The ex superior of the Missionaries of Jesus accuses him of raping her several times from 2014 to 2016. The bishop's trial was to begin in November 2019 and has been postponed several times.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Msgr Franco Mulakkal, former bishop of Jalandhar (in Punjab), is asking that his name be removed from the list of defendants involved in the case of the rape of a woman religious in Kerala. The prelate is the chief accused in a trial that takes place at the Kottayam court, involving 83 witnesses in all, including Card. George Alencherry, major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, three bishops, 11 priests and several nuns.
On January 25, the petition was filed at the office of Judge Gopakumar, of the adjunct District Court, by Msgr. Mulakkal's lawyer. The reason for the request, the lawyer says, is that the accusations against the bishop were made by witnesses who are resentful towards him. The judge will consider the discharge petition on February 4. Previously, the court denied other postponements requested by the bishop. The trial, initially set for 11 November 2019, has already been postponed several times to 30 of the same month, then to 6 January 2020.
Msgr Mulakkal is accused of raping the superior of the Missionaries of Jesus on several occasions from 2014 to 2016 while visiting the convent in Kerala and of "abusing his position of power". For his part, the prelate believes that the accusations are unfounded and defamatory. Conversely, the bishop accuses the nun of engaging in an illicit affair and concocting the case against him out of revenge because he had removed her from the office of superior.
The case came to the fore in September 2018, when five nuns held a protest demanding justice for the alleged victim. This was followed by Bishop Mulakkal’s arrest. After three weeks in custody, the prelate was released on bail awaiting trial. If found guilty, Mgr Mulakkal risks life imprisonment, but he has always said that he was innocent. In order to defend himself in court, he resigned from his post and has insisted that the charges against him are groundless and fabricated.