Lauding the sexual harassment victim nun for speaking up against rape accused ex-Bishop Franco Mulakkal, on Saturday, Sister Lucy- who participated in the Kerala nuns protest in 2018, said that it was a new dawn. Hoping for seeking justice and punishment for Mulakkal, she said this event signalled towards a change in the catholic church with nuns speaking up, rather than remaining silent. Sister Lucy Kalapura from Franciscan Clarist congregation was dismissed and made to vacate the premises in August 2019 for seeking justice for the victim and participating in the September 2018 protest.
"Great event that one more sister has revealed harassment and sexual abuse by Bishop Franco Mulakkal. A new dawn has emerged with the courage of the sister to come forward and tell the truth publicly, rather than hide the answer in the slavery of silence. I congratulate the sister from the bottom of my heart for showing the courage to reveal this sexual abuse which is happening in the Church among priest and Bishop."
She added," This event will be helpful weapon to charge and punish Franco Mulakkal as per his deeds. We (nuns) have equal rights like them, so let's not put our heads under their shoes. Let there be a change in the Catholic Church and there should be a change of pattern".
The nun, who is the 14th witness in the ongoing Mulakkal rape case alleged that Franco was sending her lewd messages and that the former Bishop had called her in the room and misbehaved with her. The nun in her statement further said that she lacked the courage to take it up in a strong manner because he was the head of their congregation. While the police is yet to file a separate FIR, the complaint is part of the original charge sheet.
Franco Mulakkal, ex-bishop of Jalandhar diocese has been accused of raping and forcing unnatural sex on the nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016. As the complainant came forward, nuns of the congregation came out in support for the victim, demanding CM Pinarayi Vijayan's intervention. After being arrested by the Kerala police, he was later released by the Kerala High Court on an unconditional bail in October 2018. His bail was further extended by Kottayam additional district sessions court in November 2019 during the trial.
Earlier in April, Kerala Police had filed a charge sheet against Franco Mulakkal under various sections ranging from Punishment for wrongful confinement, Sexual intercourse by a person in authority to Carnal Intercourse against the order of nature. Sources had told that if the charges against Franco Mulakkal is proven, he might get life imprisonment or imprisonment of not less than 10 years. Four nuns -sister Anupama along with sister Alfie, sister Josephine, sister Ancitta and sister Nina Rose who had protested against the rape accused, had expressed the church authorities' pressure to transfer them and splitting them up to dilute their protest. Meanwhile, the victim too has written about harassment from Mulakkal's aides to withdraw her case.