Four Indian priests accused of rape, blackmail

AFP/New Delhi
Filed on July 3, 2018
Four Indian priests accused of rape, blackmail


Her alleged suffering came to light after an audio clip of her husband went viral on social media.

Indian police said on Tuesday they are investigating four Christian priests for allegedly raping and blackmailing a woman in a cycle of abuse and threats lasting almost 20 years.

The woman told police that her ordeal began while still a minor in the 1990s when an Orthodox priest at a church in the southern state of Kerala forced her into sex.

She confessed to a second priest, who allegedly blackmailed her into having sex with him. A further two two priests also threatened her and forced her into sex, the woman, who has not been named, told investigators.

"We filed a case on Monday based on her complaint. We have now started our investigation," local police official S. Sreejith told AFP.

Her alleged suffering only came to light after an audio clip of her husband complaining to a church official went viral on social media, media reports said.

Sexual violence is rife in India with nearly 40,000 rape cases reported in 2016, which activists say is the tip of the iceberg as most cases go unreported.

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