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No relief for two rape-accused priests

Kochi, July 3: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday declined any relief to two of the four rape-accused Orthodox priests who had moved it for anticipatory bail, posting the next hearing for Monday. The two priests, Abraham Varghese and Job Mathew, of the Kottayam-headquartered Malankara Orthodox Church, sought that the court prevent their arrest as they have been falsely implicated in the case of sexually exploiting a woman parishioner. However the prosecution took a very strong stand that, under no circumstances, should anticipatory bail be given. Counsel for the two priests raised the request that the arrest should be prevented till the court takes up the bail plea, but the court did not take it up. Along with the two who approached the court, two other priests – Jayce George and Johnson Mathew – have all been chargesheeted by the Kerala Police’s Crime Branch, probing the case based on the allegations made by the victim’s husband, who belongs to the same church, that his wife was sexually exploited by five priests over the past one decade. One priest was left out by police with a senior officer saying the woman had only named four priests in her complaint. (IANS)

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