A court in Kerala has sentenced a Catholic priest to 18 years in rigorous prison for sexually abusing four underage boys at a seminary in Kollam district five years ago.
According to reports, the 35-year-old Christian priest, Fr. Thomas Parekkulam, a member of the Chennai-based SDM Minor Seminary, has been found guilty of sexually abusing four underage boys who were students at a seminary in Pullamala in the district. where the defendant exercised the functions of rector.
A case has been registered against the Priest of Puthoor under Section 377 (Unnatural Offences) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) 2012.
District and Additional Sessions (POCSO) Judge KN Sujith sentenced the priest to five years each in three cases and three years in the fourth case. The court also ordered him to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for each case.
The court also considered the trauma suffered by the victims of the sexual assaults and recommended that the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) award adequate compensation to the victims commensurate with the physical and mental trauma suffered by them.
“The factual circumstances that have arisen in this case would show that in attributing to the sexual assault of which the boy victims were victims, they suffered physical and mental trauma, and therefore, it is necessary to rehabilitate them”, declared the court.
The accused pastor had escaped from police custody and fled. However, the police arrested him in Chennai.
The case was registered and investigated based on a complaint received by the Thiruvananthapuram Child Welfare Committee.