A Christian cleric from Kerala has been arrested for sexually assaulting a minor Hindu girl. The incident occurred at Koodal in Pathanamthitta and the accused has been identified as Ponson John (35) of Kripalayam House.
John works as a Vicar at the local Koodal Orthodox Valiyapalli church and ‘specializes’ in counseling young children and the mentally challenged. The minor victim who attends a private school was struggling with her studies and her mother took her to the priest for advice. The priest sexually assaulted her on the 12th of this month and asked the victim to come back the next day.
On March 13th, the victim refused to go but the pedophile priest arrived at her house, uninvited, and allegedly repeated the sexual abuse. Unable to face the torture anymore, the girl told her classmates what the priest had done to her. They in turn informed their teacher who then intimated Childline officials about the abuse.
A police team led by Leelamma AR, a police inspector of Pathanamthitta Women Police Station, arrested John at dawn yesterday. She confirmed that a police case has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) against the priest for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old. A detailed investigation will be conducted to find out how many young girls he has assaulted.
The accused was produced in court and remanded to the Kottarakkara sub-jail.
Koodal is a small town situated high up in the Western Ghats of Kerala and has a police station, a post office and a liquor store. There are around one dozen churches within a two-square-kilometer radius.
Hindus are fast becoming non-existent and the ones who still survive are forced to earn a living working as laborers on these church lands. Their own house is a luxury for many and most of them usually have no farmland of their own. They have no other option than to send their children to Christian clerics for education and ‘prayers’.