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Father Robin Vadakkumcherry, the prime accused in the Kottiyoor rape case in 2016 that rocked Kerala and the church was on Saturday convicted by a court in Thalassery in North Kerala and was handed out 60 years of jail imprisonment along with three lakh fine. Fr Robin was accused of raping and sexually exploiting a 16 year-old-girl in the Kannur district.

The case rocked the conscience of the people of Kerala, with the accused being a Catholic priest. The case grew more complicated after several others from the church were subsequently arrested for allegedly trying to protect Father Vadakkumchery. Vadakkumchery, who was at the time of his arrest working at the Mananthavady Catholic Diocese’s Church at Kottiyoor, was nabbed on February 28 last year while he was trying to escape to Canada. This, was nearly three weeks after the 16-year-old girl delivered a baby. While the priest, along with the members of the church tried to hide the case, it soon came to light. After the minor girl gave birth to the baby, the child was reportedly sent to an adoption centre run by nuns against whom also cases were filed.

—India Legal Bureau

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