Student alleges sexual abuse by priest in Kerala school

Author: G. Ananthakrishnan
Date Published: 11/13/2009
Publication: The Times of India

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Church in Kerala has been hit by yet another controversy, this time by allegations from a Class IX student about sexual abuse by priests in their hostel, two weeks after her sister died of suspected poisoning at their school run by the Orthodox church.

The death of Anu, a 16-year-old girl student of the Catholicate Higher Secondary School in Malappuram district happened on October 24. Anu’s sister Anju raised the charges at a news conference with her father.

The 14-year-old alleged they were made to wash the priests’ vehicles and massage them and it often ended with them being sexually harassed.

They took up the matter with a nun who instead of helping her, threatened them with dire consequences, Anju said, adding they were forced to keep quiet for fear of being dismissed from school.

On the morning of October 24, the family received information from the school that Anu was unwell. Her father rushed to the school and along with Anju, took Anu to the district hospital and then to a hospital in Kochi. But she died on the way. Doctors found traces of poison in the viscera.

The school has ruled out any foul play. Anju said her sister was beaten cruelly by a nun. The family said there were several injury marks all over Anu’s body. Police registered a case of sexual assault against the priests, but are yet to question them. Charges of the cops dragging their feet are already doing the rounds.