Kochi, July 19: A Malayalam television channel on Thursday broadcast an audio purportedly revealing that the head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Cardinal has lied about not knowing that a nun had been sexually abused by a bishop. The audio, broadcast by the Mathrubhumi TV channel, pertains to a talk between Cardinal Mar George Alencherry and the abused nun clearly shows that the former had knowledge that Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar in Punjab, had sexually abused her. In the audio Alencherry is heard telling the nun: “If she was abused then it’s really bad”.
The nun is then heard seeking advice from the Cardinal, who in his turn says that it would be better if she registers a complaint with the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is based in Mumbai. The authenticity of the tape, however, could not be independently verified.
Alencherry, is also heard telling the nun that he would not say anything about this to the police. However, he adds that “if she has been subjected to this, then it’s not correct”. When the Kerala Police probe team recorded Alencherry’s statement on Wednesday, he did not reveal any of this. Earlier in July, Alencherry had told the media soon after the case of the nun’s abuse had surfaced, that it was true that the nun had spoken to him, but it was related to other issues related to the Jalandhar Diocese and nothing related to the case.
Speaking to the media, the victim’s brother, who is also a Catholic priest, said that the reason why they decided to release the audio tape of the conversation between his sister and the Cardinal, is because he was not speaking the truth. “We would not have released this particular audio had he told the police yesterday the truth,” the brother said. “She had met the Cardinal and given her complaint in writing but no action was taken. It was then that we decided to record the telephone conversation. “We have more evidence and will release that also,” said the nun’s brother.
Trouble began for Bishop Mulakkal in June when the nun alleged that she was sexually abused by him several times between 2014 and 2016. An FIR was registered against the bishop and a 114-page detailed statement was taken from the nun. Mulakkal, for his part, maintains that he has done “no wrong at all” and that the nun took part in several functions besides traveling with him. (IANS)