Four Indian priests accused of rape, blackmail

The woman told police that her ordeal began while still a minor in the 1990s when an Orthodox priest at a church forced her into sex. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2018
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Four Indian priests accused of rape, blackmail

  • In 2016, an Indian priest was sentenced to 40 years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl
  • Christianity is India’s third-biggest religion according to the 2011 census

NEW DELHI: Indian police said Tuesday they are investigating four Christian priests for allegedly raping and blackmailing a woman in a cycle of abuse and threats lasting almost 20 years.
The woman told police that her ordeal began while still a minor in the 1990s when an Orthodox priest at a church in the southern state of Kerala forced her into sex.
She confessed to a second priest, who allegedly blackmailed her into having sex with him. A further two two priests also threatened her and forced her into sex, the woman, who has not been named, told investigators.
“We filed a case on Monday based on her complaint. We have now started our investigation,” local police official S. Sreejith told AFP.
Her alleged suffering only came to light after an audio clip of her husband complaining to a church official went viral on social media, media reports said.
The Christan community in India, as elsewhere around the world, has been rocked by sexual abuse allegations.
Last year, a pastor accused of raping two women on the pretext of driving out evil spirits was arrested in eastern India.
In 2016, an Indian priest was sentenced to 40 years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl.
Christianity is India’s third-biggest religion according to the 2011 census, with approximately 28 million followers or 2.3 percent of the population.
Sexual violence is rife in India with nearly 40,000 rape cases reported in 2016, which activists say is the tip of the iceberg as most cases go unreported.


Pelosi urges support for resolution to block border wall emergency

Updated 56 min 55 sec ago
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Pelosi urges support for resolution to block border wall emergency

  • Trump announced the emergency in order to bypass Congress
  • Sixteen states earlier this week sued over the declaration, but the Trump administration has continued with its plans

WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday called upon lawmakers to back a resolution to halt the national emergency declared by US President Donald Trump to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico.
Trump announced the emergency in order to bypass Congress, which approved only a quarter of the $5.6 billion he wanted for the wall in a spending bill.
Sixteen states earlier this week sued over the declaration, but the Trump administration has continued with plans to pull together around a further $6.6 billion in federal funding, mostly from the Department of Defense.
Texas congressman Joaquin Castro had last week vowed to introduce a resolution to terminate the president’s move.
Lawmakers have until 3:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Thursday to co-sponsor it, before it is formally introduced on Friday.
“I write to invite all Members of Congress to cosponsor Congressman Joaquin Castro’s privileged resolution,” Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats and Republicans late Wednesday.”
“The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,” she said.
“We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.
Democrats were quick to express their support.
“I’m a YES to overturn the declaration,” Democratic Senator Brian Schatz tweeted.
Meanwhile, House Democrat Linda Sanchez, of California, said she was “proud” to support Castro’s resolution.