The Vatican has accepted an Indian court’s decision acquitting a Catholic bishop of allegedly raping a nun, said Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, on June 11.
The papal nuncio, who was on a two-day pastoral visit to the Diocese of Jalandhar in the northern Indian state of Punjab, made the announcement while addressing the priests of the diocese.
“Accordingly, Bishop Franco [Mulakkal] is innocent and free of all charges. With regards to the future, it is not in my hands but with Rome. Let us wait for it patiently,” said Archbishop Girelli.
On Sept. 20, 2018, the Vatican accepted Bishop Mulakkal’s request to relieve him from his duties until the charges against him are cleared.
On January 14 this year, a court in Kerala in southern India, acquitted Bishop Mulakkal for lack of evidence.
The rape case against the bishop was registered by police in Kerala’s Kottayam district on June 27, 2018.
He was arrested Sept. 21, 2018, and sent to jail in Palai, a town in Kerala’s Kottayam district. He was later released on bail on Oct. 15, 2018.
The alleged rape survivor, a former superior general of the Missionaries of Jesus, accused the bishop of sexual abuse at least 13 times between 2014 and 2016.
The nun and the Kerala government have appealed the verdict in the Kerala High Court.
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