A day before Kerala’s rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s discharge petition is to be heard, the statement of a nun – one of the witnesses against him – has been leaked. The nun, the 14th witness in the case, has alleged that Franco Mulakkal made sexually coloured remarks on phone calls, messages and video calls and that she was inappropriately touched by him. The nun, in the statement, also states that she was scared of the Bishop and of being thrown out from the congregation.
This 35-year-old nun, in her statement on September 19, 2018, had told the police, “I met Bishop Franco Mulakkal for the first time in 2015 in Bihar… I called the Bishop on phone several times for different needs of the convent… We started eventually speaking regularly. From 2015 to 2017 we made calls, we chatted on WhatsApp and made video calls. I initially started calling on behalf of a friend. But from 2015 end, Bishop started talking to be with sexual overtones. That made me feel disgusting, averse and cause mental agony.”
“But Bishop continued with sexual remarks…and started making video calls with description about his and my body parts… Because he was the Bishop of diocese, I could not tell anything against it. Even though I was not interested in sex chatting, due to fear of the Bishop’s displeasure and being ousted from the church, I did not object…” the statement adds.
“In 2017, I had a relationship with a person via phone. And that caused certain problems in the church. As punishment, I was sent to Kerala… On April 30, 2017, to investigate this matter, and to meet me, Bishop Franco Mulakkal came to this convent… around 1am in the night, Bishop called me to his room and made me sit in a chair in his room. He enquired about details regarding the Bihar incident and I explained that to him. Bishop and I spoke for nearly two hours. As I was leaving the room, Bishop hugged me and kissed me on the head. I felt disgusted. And next the Bishop left. After this, despite me calling him many times, he avoided talking saying he was busy. And I stopped calling him,” the nurse’s statement reads.
Since Franco Mulakkal was the Bishop of the diocese, “I did not share these incidents with anyone outside”, it further says.
Save Our Sisters Forum, fighting for justice for the nun who has accused the Bishop of raping her several times between 2014-2016, has alleged police lapse in a separate case not being filed based on this witness nun’s statement. However, police sources claim that they did not file a separate case based on this nun’s revelations because she was unwilling to do so, and instead made her the 14th witness in the case.