Rape case of a Kerala nun: The order that acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal

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In the case of the rape of a Kerala nun, a lower court on Friday acquitted Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal of all charges. The Kerala Magistrate’s Court cited various reasons for Franco Mulakkal’s acquittal, including the inconsistent version of the victim’s incidents and the lack of corroborating evidence to prove the prosecution case.

Franco Mulakkal, 57, is the former Bishop of Jalandhar of the Catholic Church. He was accused of repeatedly raping the nun during her visit to a nunnery in Kottayam district between 2014 and 2016. The complainant is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus.

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The high-profile case of a nun’s rape had led to an unprecedented public protest in Kerala by other nuns in support of the complainant.

What the order says

Extra Sessions Judge G Gopakumar said the victim’s allegation that she was raped 13 times could not be substantiated on the basis of her solitary testimony.

Due to an inconsistent version of the victim, the court found that she could not be qualified as a quality witness.

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The Kerala Magistrate’s Court order said they felt the victim could not be qualified as a fully reliable witness either.

The court pointed out that the grievance projected by her to the companion sisters was that the defendant was taking retaliatory measures for not giving in to her sexual desires.

However, her version in court was that she was forced to have sex with the defendant 13 times.

The judgment further stated that the prosecution failed to provide a proper explanation for the inconsistent version.

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Apart from the victim’s testimony, there was no corroborating evidence to prove the prosecution’s case.

Police were unable to seize the mobile phone used by the victim which allegedly provided input to the alleged vulgar messages sent by the accused.

The explanation offered for the non-production of the phone is wholly unsatisfactory, the order reads.

The nuns’ infighting, rivalry and group fights, as well as the desire for power, position and control over the congregation were evident in the affair, the order said.

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