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‘My conscience is clear’ says bishop accused of raping nun

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, India (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Jullundur)

An Indian bishop accused a raping a nun has once again denied the allegations against him, saying his “conscience is clear”.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar told the Times of India that his accuser targeted him because he was investigating whether she was having an affair with her cousin’s husband.

The nun is a member of the Mission of Jesus Sisters house at Jalandhar. Her cousin’s family made the complaint against her in 2016, and the bishop asked the order’s superior to investigate.

“Had I not asked her to investigate the complaint, it would have amounted to a cover-up and the complainant could have put us in the dock,” the bishop said.

The nun submitted a 72-page report to police on June 29, detailing 13 alleged instances of abuse between 2014 and 2016. Bishop Mulakkal admits being in the convent when the alleged assaults took place, but says he was in a different room.

He also said the nun voluntarily accompanied him after the alleged incidents took place. “Would a victim go around with her rapist or go to the latter’s home? She visited my house when a jubilee function was held in Kerala in 2015 and then also when my mother passed away in November 2015,” he said.

The Times of India has also published a letter from the nun to Cardinal George Alencherry in which she says 15 members have left her community due to a “moral and spiritual dilemma” cause by Bishop Mulakkal. The letter, dated July 11, 2017, does not make specific accusations of rape.

“The bishop used malicious words while talking to sisters and his mobile messages to sisters contained vulgar words with sexual tones. I have some mobile messages that can be used as evidence,” the nun wrote.

“Many of his expressions cannot be written down due to their abusive nature and it is not suitable for a bishop to use such words. It is reasonable for us to seek assistance from civil authorities. Being a religious congregation, we thought that it is not good to give pain to our Mother Church.”