Bishop Franco Mulakkal uttered the words, “Praise the Lord,” as he stepped out of the Kottayam additional sessions court in Kerala. The Kerala court found him not guilty in what is known as the Kerala nun rape case of 2018. The court acquitted Bishop Mulakkal of all charges in the nun rape case. In 2018, when Mulakkal was arrested, he became the first bishop in Indian Catholic history to have been arrested on the charge of raping a nun. He was formally charged with the alleged crime by the Kerala police in April 2019.
WHO IS BISHOP MULAKKAL?
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was born in Mattam, in Kerala’s Thrissur district on March 25, 1964. In 1990, at the age of 26, he was ordained as a priest. He became an auxiliary bishop in 2009. He was appointed as the bishop of Jalandhar in 2013. He completed his master’s in Arts from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Alphonsian Academy in Rome, Italy. Bishop Franco Mulakkal is also the secretary of the Regional Bishops Conference of North India and Consultor for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In June 2018, a nun accused Mulakkal of rape and filed a case with the Kerala police. The Kerala nun alleged that she was raped by Bishop Mulakkal 13 times between 2014 and 2016 on his visits to a convent in the Kottayam district in Kerala.
ARREST AND TRIAL
In September 2018, the Kerala police arrested Bishop Mulakkal and a judicial magistrate sent him to 14-day custody. He was granted bail on October 15, 2018. He was formally charged by the Kerala police in April 2019. The trial commenced in 2020. Bishop Mulakkal approached the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court with a plea to quash the charges against him. However, the courts refused to entertain the plea. Bishop Mulakkal denied these allegations. He said that the rape charge was fabricated. He claimed that the rape charge was “retaliation” after he took action against the complainant nun. He said the action was taken on a complaint by a woman in 2016 alleging that the nun was having an illicit relationship. The nun was removed from her post as Mother Superior after an inquiry was conducted.