Kottayam: The Malankara Orthodox Church in Kerala suspended five priests over allegations that they sexually abused and blackmailed a married woman.
The priests were suspended after the woman’s husband complained to the church. The man claimed that a confession made by his wife to one of the priests was used to blackmail her.
"The victim was subjected to sexual abuse by blackmailing her with her confessional secrets," news agency ANI quoted a church spokesperson as saying.
The incident came to light after an audio clip of the woman’s husband in which he was narrating his ordeal started circulating on the social media.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the man said that his wife was sexually abused by one of the priests before she got married. The priest made sexual advances towards her even after her marriage.
The man, a resident of Thiruvalla, added that during his daughter’s baptism, his wife confessed her plight to another priest. However, he too started exploiting her.
The second priest later passed on the information to three of his fellow priests who also allegedly exploited her, the man further alleged.
The man also said he wanted all of the priests defrocked and not want to make his wife’s identity public to avoid further humiliation.
According to the church sources, three of the priests belong to Niranam Diocese in Thiruvalla and the two others were from Pandalam and Delhi, the Hindustan Times further added.
Following the incident, the Church has directed the concerned diocese to probe the matter.
However, the husband has not filed any police complaint yet....