New York: SNAP Network that found a mention in the Oscar winning movie Spotlight on sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church has extended support to the All India Christian Forum (AICF) fight for Mary Rajasekaran – a victim of sexual harassment by Father Xavier Alphonse at Loyola College Chennai.
Tim Lennon, President, SNAP Network expressed in a message to GoaChronicle.com, “Mary Rajasekaran, a faculty member of Loyola College, seeks justice in the courts yet is blocked by inaction. We call on the court to provide a path to justice for her.”
The movie featured an actor who plays New England SNAP Founder Phil Saviano and shows that the organisation played a big role in helping journalists investigate and expose clergy sex crimes and coverups in Boston.
SNAP Network is the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious and institutional authorities (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, coaches, teachers, and others.
In a shocking revelation in the Mary Rajasekaran sexual harassment case by Father Xavier Alphonse, Loyola College Chennai told the victim not to approach the Tamil Nadu police to file a complaint against sexual harassment she faced while in the college as Administrator of the Office of the Alumni Association.
In her petition in the Madras High Court, Mary Rajasekaran, states, “I further submit that inspite of this I was continuously harassed by the said Rev.Fr. Xavier Alphonse SJ, over telephone as well as in person at my office in the College campus and whenever I brought these to the knowledge of the management including the Rector of Loyola College Chennai herein I was dissuaded by them from pursuing any action against the said Rev.Fr. Xavier Alphonse SJ, including lodging of Police Complaint, by stating that name and goodwill painstakingly earned by the Loyola College Institution will be sullied if the matter is made public. They also informed me that steps are being taken to transfer Rev.Fr. Xavier Alphonse SJ, to some other institution by the management and I was asked to wait till then.”
According to the petition in the Madras High Court there is clear attempt on the Loyola College to prevent the matter of sexual harassment at workplace reaching the Tamil Nadu police authorities.
More so, not a single Internal Complaints Committee was setup by the Loyola College Chennai on this case under the guidelines stipulated by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The Sexual Harassment of Women in Higher Education Institution (HEI) is prohibited by the University Grants Commission (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 1956, along with The Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.