Priest and nuns face defamation charges

A priest and five nuns are facing defamation charges after releasing defamatory videos of Sister Lucy Kalappura, who was expelled from her congregation early this month.

Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) nun, Kalappura complained the accused used social media to falsely portray her interactions with journalists as a salacious affair.

The police had registered the case after Kalappura made a complaint of illegal confinement.

Kalappura has been protesting against the former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, who had been accused of raping a nun.

She was expelled by the FCC early this month on the grounds that she failed “to give a satisfactory explanation for her lifestyle in violation of the proper law of the FCC”.

He congregation had earlier accused her of publishing poems, purchasing a car and taking part in a protest against Mulakkal.

The National Women’s Commission (NWC), a statutory federal body that advises the Indian government on all policy matters affecting women, is condemning the multiple harassment Kalappura is facing.

The NWC wrote to the Kerala police chief Loknath Behera asking him to arrest those targeting Kalappura. The letter arrived amid reports of the accused priest and nuns’ attempts to slander Kalappura.

The alleged slanderous material was released by a priest from the diocese’s public relations office team.

It included a defamatory YouTube video based on CCTV footage showing Kalappura entering an FCC convent with two men.

Father Noble Thomas Parackal, who produced the video, tried to malign the nun by suggesting that she had an illicit relationship with the men, who were found to be journalists.

However, Parackal omitted including images of a third journalist – a woman – who was with the men. He then made a second video justifying himself.

Kalappura is not the only person the accused priest and nuns are targeting, NWC says.

“While we are waiting for the investigations to get over in the rape case, these acts are tactics to put the victim under pressure so that she steps back.”

The NWC demanded immediate action to be taken against Mulakkal and for a report on this from the police chief’s office as soon as possible.

“We will not accept people holding respectable positions misuse their authority for wrongful actions,” read the statement.

The former superior general of Missionaries of Jesus accused the bishop of rape on multiple occasions between 2014 and 2016.


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