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Indian bishop arrested for rape of nun

(AFP) – An Indian bishop accused by a nun of raping her was arrested Friday, in a high-profile abuse case that had triggered angry protests by clergy over police inaction, Press Trust of India reported.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested on Friday evening, a day after Pope Francis relieved him from duty over the scandal, according to PTI who quoted local police official Vijay Sakhare.

The nun, who has not been named, first accused Mulakkal in late June of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

But police in the southern state of Kerala, home to India s largest Christian population, did not formally question him until September.

The lack of action provoked outrage, as five nuns — in a rare show of dissent within the Indian Church — and dozens of supporters staged days of protests.

Pope Francis relieved Mulakkal from duty on Thursday and appointed another bishop in his stead.

Mulakkal, who has rejected the accusations, had written to the pontiff requesting he be temporarily relieved of duties while the investigation was underway.

The alleged victim has also approached the Vatican representative in India to press her case.

Her letter, leaked to Indian media, said Mulakkal was “using political and money power to bury the case”.

Mulakkal has called the whole scandal a conspiracy by those against the Church, and has won backing from his congregation at the Missionaries of Jesus Church.

In July, two priests were arrested for allegedly raping and blackmailing a woman for over 20 years in Kerala.

Sexual abuse by clergymen and the failure of senior Church officials to take action has been one of the biggest scandals facing the Catholic Church in recent years in several countries.

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