‘Talked About Sex, Kissed Me’: Another Kerala Nun Accuses Bishop Franco Mulakkal
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Another Kerala nun on Friday accused former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, of sexual abuse. The nun is the 14th witness in the rape case against Mulakkal, who is out on bail in a case of sexually assaulting a nun between 2014 and 2016.
The nun, the 14th witness in the case, has alleged that Franco Mulakkal made sexually coloured remarks on phone calls, messages and video calls and that she was inappropriately touched by him. The nun, in the statement, also states that she was scared of the Bishop and of being thrown out from the congregation.
In her statement to the police, she alleged that between 2015 and 2017, they had spoken over phone several times and the Bishop made sexually coloured and lewd remarks. She alleged that the Bishop used to “make video calls and talk about sex”.
The nun further said that she never told anyone about the incident as she was scared of the Bishop and being thrown out of the convent. Recalling an incident that took place on April 30, 2017, the nun said that when the Bishop visited the convent and spoke to her in his room, “he hugged and kissed her on her forehead”. This nun is also from the missionaries of Jesus congregation.
Police sources said that the witness was not ready to file a complaint against the Bishop. According to a police official, “After getting the witness statement, they had alerted the jurisdictional police about it but when the team met her, she refused to file a complaint.”
Mulakkal who was arrested on September 21, 2018 on rape charges, got bail on October 16, 2018. The Kerala Police has filed a 1,400-page chargesheet against him. The chargesheet names 83 witnesses, including the Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and several nuns. After the case came to light, Mulakkal was removed as head of the Jalandhar diocese.
Bishop Franco had filed a discharge petition, to which the prosecution has filed an objection and the case is up for hearing on Saturday.
This 35-year-old nun, in her statement on September 19, 2018, had told the police, “I met Bishop Franco Mulakkal for the first time in 2015 in Bihar… I called the Bishop on phone several times for different needs of the convent… We started eventually speaking regularly. From 2015 to 2017 we made calls, we chatted on WhatsApp and made video calls. I initially started calling on behalf of a friend. But from 2015 end, Bishop started talking to be with sexual overtones. That made me feel disgusting, averse and cause mental agony.”
“But Bishop continued with sexual remarks…and started making video calls with description about his and my body parts… Because he was the Bishop of diocese, I could not tell anything against it. Even though I was not interested in sex chatting, due to fear of the Bishop’s displeasure and being ousted from the church, I did not object…” the statement adds.
“In 2017, I had a relationship with a person via phone. And that caused certain problems in the church. As punishment, I was sent to Kerala… On April 30, 2017, to investigate this matter, and to meet me, Bishop Franco Mulakkal came to this convent… around 1am in the night, Bishop called me to his room and made me sit in a chair in his room. He enquired about details regarding the Bihar incident and I explained that to him.
Bishop and I spoke for nearly two hours. As I was leaving the room, Bishop hugged me and kissed me on the forehead. I felt disgusted. And next the Bishop left. After this, despite me calling him many times, he avoided talking saying he was busy. And I stopped calling him,” the nurse’s statement reads.
However, police sources claim that they did not file a separate case based on this nun’s revelations because she was unwilling to do so, and instead made her the 14th witness in the case.
(Bureau Report with agency Inputs).