Catholic priest Benedict Anto who was arrested for sexually abusing women followers, has revealed that he created a WhatsApp group to share obscene videos with fellow priests. He sexted a woman, her daughter and her daughter-in-law simultaneously. He was arrested after his scandalous videos went viral on social media and a victim filed a complaint against him. He reportedly threatened women using the videos to sexually exploit them.
Benedict Anto, a Catholic priest of the Syro Malankara church in Kanyakumari was arrested after a nursing student, one of his victims, filed a complaint with the Kanyakumari police. A victim’s friends stole the priest’s laptop and phone and leaked the videos on social media. They handed them over to the police when the victim filed a complaint against him. Police found over 200 videos and pictures of nearly 80 women during their intimate moments with the priest on his devices.
He was absconding and was arrested on his way to meet his lawyer on March 19. He told a sob story to police that the girl in the videos that have gone viral was his girlfriend and they broke up as a Catholic priest cannot marry. While some media reports say that he continued to be ‘friends’ with her even after the breakup and that the photos and videos were taken with her consent, others say they were recorded while they were in a relationship.
He would get phone numbers from women and start texting to get familiar. Once he starts sexting he would take screenshots and threaten them with exposure. He would ask them to act like he says, striping for example, and record it. He also enjoyed watching and reading such messages and videos of intimate moments.
More shocking details are emerging as the investigation continues. Through his WhatsApp history, police have discovered that he texted a mother, her daughter and daughter-in-law simultaneously. He sexted many women but ensured he wasn’t caught between them. Some reports suggest that women who were in ‘touch’ with him fear facing police investigation as it will ruin their reputation. As per a News 7 report, he confessed that he created WhatsApp groups with 30 fellow priests and 5 women and shared the obscene videos. When he was absconding, he stayed in a room with a school teacher, a law student and a doctor, all females.
He used 13 sim cards when he was hiding, and 6 were bought in Karnataka. Police are investigating the involvement of others in helping him. Nakeeran, a Tamil magazine’s report says that only porn and obscene videos of Anto’s victims, including minor girls, were shared in the group. It mentions a lady doctor who was close to the priest and frequently visited him at multiple places. She is reportedly a famous practitioner from Thiruvananthapuram and is suspected of helping Anto abort babies conceived by his victims.
In one of the screenshots shared by Nakeeran, he asks the victim whether he should give her number to another priest residing with him. It is suspected that young priests, as many as 20, who trained and were ordained with him, could have been part of the crime. This appears to be a sex racket with the involvement of 30 priests and possibly pedophilia, as Anto reportedly trapped a minor as well. Unfortunately, the Christian community and the church don’t even bring such crimes to legal systems, much less let the perpetrators get punished. The cases of Franco Mullakkal and Robin Vadakkumcherry are perfect examples.
The same has started in Benedict Anto’s case as well, with victims being slut shamed. It does appear that some adults could have had a relationship with the priest of their own accord. But, while the degeneracy has to be called out, one cannot brush under the carpet the influence Christian priests hold over their laity. Looking at the way even women, educated ones at that, helped him hide, it could be either that he has their photos, and videos as well or knows their secrets through confessions.
Unless the Christian community itself comes forward to protect their women and children, not only Christians but Hindus also face the same threat thanks to the church’s aggressive conversion policy.