A court in India’s Kerala state acquitted Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar in rape case filed by a nun.
In a decision released on Friday, January 14, Judge G Gopakumar of the Additional Sessions District Court said the bishop has been let free for want of evidence.
“Praise the Lord,” said Bishop Mulakkal as he left the courtroom following the announcement of the verdict after 105 days of trial.
The rape case was registered by the police in Kottayam district on June 27, 2018. The bishop was then arrested on Sept. 21, 2018, and sent to jail in Palai in Kottayam. He was released on bail on Oct. 15, 2018.
The victim, the former superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, alleged that the bishop had subjected her to sexual abuse at least 13 times between 2014 and 2016.
A day before his arrest, the Vatican accepted Bishop Mulakkal’s request to relieve him from his duties until the case is over.
The Special Investigation Team, which probed the case, arrested the bishop and charged him with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex, and criminal intimidation.
The charge sheet named 84 witnesses, including Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, but only 39 witnesses, including the cardinal and two bishops, were called and heard in the court.