Kannur: A Catholic priest who was punished for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old has decided to marry the victim. Robin Vadakunchery approached the high court seeking permission to marry the girl and “protect the child”. The victim and Robin jointly filed the plea in the case.

Robin Vadakunchery has been sentenced to 20 years and is presently in prison. He also asked the court to grant him two-month parole for the purpose of the wedding.

The prosecution said it is not against the marriage but doubts the former priest's motives.  The prosecution told the court that it might be a move to seek resentencing. The court, which has sought a police report, will reconsider the case on July 24.

The incident came to light after the girl delivered the child at a private hospital in Kannur on February 7, 2007. At first, the victim said that it was her own father who committed the crime. On further interrogation, the girl's father revealed the name of the priest.

Other accused in the case - Thankamma, Sister Lis Maria of Christudas convent, Sister Anita of Kallumutty convent, Father Thomas Joseph Therakam, former chairman of Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Dr Sr Betty Jose, a CWC member, and Sr Ophelia, the superintendent of the Holy Infant Mary Mandiram, Vythiri - were acquitted by the court.

A popular website reported that church-owned media outfits resorted to openly blaming and shaming the rape survivor. 

A Catholic newspaper, Sunday Shalom, had this to say in an editorial,

“...the partner in the sin is more than 15 years old. Considering her in my daughter’s position I am saying, daughter you too went wrong. You will be the first one answerable before god. Why did you forget who a priest was? Why didn’t you know that the sanctity of a priest is equal to the holiness of Jesus’s heart. He has a human body, he can get temptations. If he might have forgot that for a few seconds, my child who has taken the holy communion, why didn’t you stop or correct him?”