Father Abraham Varghese accused of blackmailing and raping a woman has posted a 12-minute video on YouTube claiming his innocence while demeaning the rape survivor today. It is interesting to note that Father Varghese alias Sony is absconding from the police after the Kerala High Court reject his bail plea.
Father Abraham Varghese is the first accused in the case of a sex scandal that has rocked the Orthodox church in Kerala. The woman in her statement to the Crime Branch had said that she was in a relationship with him in 1999, when she was 16 years old. Varghese, even after becoming a priest and even after both of them were married to other individuals forced her to continue the relationship, she alleged.
In the video that he uploaded on YouTube, Varghese gives away the name of the survivor and her husband and their location. He also made disparaging remarks about the woman’s character and claimed that he was not present at the locations in which she had alleged the acts of assault took place.
“On May 14 I was summoned by the bishop and at the time he told me about the complaint by the woman’s husband. I had denied everything. I had asked in writing for the full text of the complaint against me. On June 19 I got the copy of the complaint and the related documents attached to it. From the documents what I have understood is that it was written in the presence of Brijith, a nun and principal of Sophia school Anikkad, the father of the woman, and her in-laws, but none of them have signed on it,” he says in the video.
Two other priests, who are also accused of sexually assaulting the survivor, have been arrested. Denying them bail a few days ago, the Kerala High Court had said that all the accused are clergy men, who were in a position of dominance over the woman and had exploited the said status. The judge had said that he found no reason to ignore the woman’s statement as she had given the magistrate a graphic description as to ‘how she was threatened and forced to succumb to the carnal desires of the accused’. Calling all the accused predators, the court had rejected them bail.