One more Orthodox priest has been arrested by the police on Friday in connection with the alleged charges of exploiting a married woman by blackmailing her to reveal her confession secret.
Fr Johnson V Mathew, the third accused in the case was arrested from Pathanamthitta district and brought to Thiruvalla Crime Branch office for questioning.
Of the four accused in the case, two of them are still absconding, while Fr. Job Mathew, the second accused surrendered before the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kollam on Thursday.
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday had dismissed anticipatory bail applications filed by three priests, after observing that their arrests could not be prevented as prima face there was evidence against them.
A married teacher had, in her statement to the police, alleged that she was blackmailed by four priests over a secret ‘confession’ she had made in a church and sexually assaulted by them over years. Her husband had first approached the Orthodox Church in May this year with a formal complaint demanding the defrocking of the priests.
An audio clip of a phone conversation between the woman’s husband and a friend about the scandal was leaked on social media, resulting in the police registering a case.