Kerala priest accused of sexual abuse, surrenders

Thiruvananthapuram: A Roman Catholic priest in Kerala, who is accused of sexually abusing a foreign national and robbing some of her ornaments and cash, surrendered at the Vaikom court on Friday.

He had been on the run ever since the victim who is a 42-year-old Bangladeshi native and residing in Britain complained about the priest to the police in Kaduthuruthy, about 40km from Kochi.

The accused, 44-year-old Thomas Thaanninilkum Thadathil, was quickly removed from priestly services by the Pala diocese of the Catholic Church on Thursday even as police launched a search for him.

However, the priest also sent a complaint to the Kaduthurthy police station house officer by registered post that he had been trapped by the woman and her male friend from Zimbabwe.

The victim complained to police that Thadathil had befriended her through a social media platform and that she had come down to Kerala in January and visited the priest at Kallara, where he was in charge of the local parish, the Manianthuruthu St Mathews church. She alleged that he had taken her to various places and sexually abused her.

She said she returned to the state again this month and that the priest had locked her up in a hotel room in Kumarakom and decamped with Rs16,000 (Dh916) and some jewellery.

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