RTI shows ex-Goa guv helped priest escape molestation charges

The following article appeared in the Deccan Herald of 28th October 2010
Minor girl was molested Devika Sequeira Panaji: Former Goa and Maharashtra governor S C Jamir directly intervened to stall police inon church premises
RTI shows ex-Goa guv helped priest escape molestation charges
Devika Sequeira, Panaji, Oct 25, DHNS:

Former Goa and Maharashtra governor S C Jamir directly intervened to stall police investigations into molestation charges against a Goa Catholic priest, thus impeding the course of justice, documents accessed under the Right to Information Act reveal.

The case is significant in the light of the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church recently over its cover-up of the endemic clerical abuse. During his visit to the UK last month, Pope Benedict XVI had expressed “deep sorrow for the unspeakable crimes.”

A former chief minister of Nagaland, Jamir served as governor of Goa from 2004 to July 2008 after which he was moved to Maharashtra.

The case in question dates back to 2004 when an FIR was lodged against a Goa parish priest for molesting a minor girl on church premises.

Fr Newton Rodrigues, who served as parish priest at Ribandar church at the time, was booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 8(2) of the Goa Children’s Act by the Old Goa police.

In her complaint, the girl’s mother had said her daughter, 13, was in the church with a group of children when the priest, on the pretext of hearing her confession, led her into his bedroom where he molested her.

After preliminary investigations, the superintendent of police directed that the priest be chargesheeted. The director of prosecution concurred and a draft chargesheet was made out on August 30, 2004. But soon after, Jamir intervened, says activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues, who accessed the documents.

The governor’s notings show he asked for the papers to be referred to the advocate general and the public prosecutor for their opinion and directed that the file be sent back to him before a final decision was taken on whether to prosecute the priest or not.

Almost a year after the incident, the file on the case was back before Jamir and in August 2005 the police told the Children’s Court that it wanted the case against the priest to be closed.

The RTI activist says while the Crime Branch let the priest off, 13 residents of Ribandar village, including an 80-year-old widow and he, were chargesheeted for entering the church to question the priest on the molestation case.

The courts have twice dismissed the charges against the lawyer, but the police continue to persecute him and the others and have filed an appeal before the high court.
Meanwhile, Fr Newton Rodrigues is believed to have been relieved of his duties.

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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1 Response to RTI shows ex-Goa guv helped priest escape molestation charges

  1. Gordon Jacobs says:

    What has the Bishop of Goa to say about this or in the usual Catholic spirit they dont comment, believing that the laity will soon forget about this issue.

    I stand by advocate Aires Rodrigues and implore upon him to continue his struggle to get justice for the victims.

    I strongly believe that the then Govenor of Goa S C Jamin has a lot to answer
    to the people of Goa and India.

    I also demand to know why this priest Newton Rodrigues has been relieved of his duties as reported in the article.

    Shame on the Catholic Church Administrators Shame Shame, you have brought disgrace to the community and to read these articles is disgusting.

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