Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao may move the Bombay High Court at
Goa seeking stay of the summons issued to him by Panaji Judicial
Magistrate First Class. The JMFC Mrs. Sarika Faldessai has directed
Archbishop Ferrao to appear in court on August 2nd at 10 am to depose
in the 2004 Ribandar Church case.

Sources have revealed that Archbishop Ferrao has been advised by his
legal team that as he enjoys no immunity even under the Cannon law
from being summoned to appear in Court, the only option was to
challenge before the High Court the summons served on him.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao is one of the ten witnesses Adv. Aires
Rodrigues has sought to examine in his defence in a case in which he
and 14 other Ribandar residents have been charge sheeted for allegedly
having trespassed into the Ribandar Church corridor on 16th August
2004 and disturbing a meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council meeting.

In 2004 Adv. Aires Rodrigues had personally met Archbishop Filipe Neri
Ferrao and submitted to him a written complaint against Fr. Newton
Rodrigues then Parish Priest of Ribandar who was accused of having
allegedly molested a 13 year old girl from Ribandar.

As the Archbishop failed to take any action, a public agitation was
led by Adv. Aires Rodrigues against Father Newton Rodrigues on the
molestation issue which virtually divided the parishioners of

During that agitation it was on a complaint filed by Fr. Newton
Rodrigues that a charge sheet was filed against Adv. Aires Rodrigues
and 14 others. Father Newton Rodrigues now Pastor of St. Bernadette
Church at Calgary in Canada has failed to remain present in Court
despite being summoned and even a warrant of arrest issued against


The then Parish Priest of Ribandar Fr. Newton Rodrigues and now Pastor
of St. Bernadette Church at Calgary in Canada had allegedly just
before 2003 Christmas midnight mass pinched the breast of his 13 year
old parishioner.

This has been revealed in the copies of the noting sheets of the
molestation case that was registered against Father Newton Rodrigues
now obtained by Adv. Aires Rodrigues from the Crime Branch under the
Right to Information Act.

The alleged molestation of the 13 year old by her Parish Priest took
place just before midnight mass. The mother in her complaint had
stated that Fr. Newton Rodrigues had taken the minor girl to his
bedroom on the pretext of confession and had molested her.

After the alleged incident the victim returned home crying and her
mother rushed to the church to question Father Newton Rodrigues as to
why he had molested her daughter after which Father Newton Rodrigues
apologized to her.

The notings further reveal that a 14 year old friend of the victim in
her statement to the police had stated that she and the victim had
reached the church at around 22.30 hours to prepare for the skit they
were supposed to participate in before midnight mass. The victim was
to act as “Mother Mary” in that skit. The victim’s friend in her
statement further stated that when they arrived at the church Fr
Newton Rodrigues took the victim inside the room and had asked her to
wait outside. The friend in her statement also stated that the victim
came out crying from Father Newton Rodrigues’s room and that she later
accompanied the victim to her home where the victim informed her
mother that she was pinched on her breast by Father Newton Rodrigues.
The victim girl did not participate in the skit she was scheduled to
that night.

One of the witnesses a 12 year old boy in his statement to the police
stated that he had seen the victim’s mother questioning the Parish
Priest at around 11 pm. Another witness a 10 year old girl in her
statement to the police stated that when she arrived at the church at
10.50 pm with her parents for midnight mass she was at the last minute
told to dress as “Mother Play” to substitute the victim girl.

Ms Desiree Albuquerque in her statement to the police stated that just
before midnight mass she was told by Father Newton Rodrigues to
replace the victim by another girl for the role of “Mother Mary”

The notings further reveal that Father Newton Rodrigues in his
statement to the police stated that while he was talking to the victim
at around 10.40 pm he had pointed to the pendant worn by the victim.
Father Newton Rodrigues further told the police that as the victim
gave a jerk his hand touched her breast by mistake and that he had
apologized to the victim’s mother after she came and abused him.

The notings also reveal that the statements of the victim, her mother
and 9 others including the accused Father Newton Rodrigues were
recorded by the police. The statements of the minors were recorded by
the police in the presence of representative of an NGO – CRG, Children
Rights in Goa.

It is also alleged that there were complaints against Father Newton
Rodrigues of other irregularities at the Ribandar Church with even
the head of the then Ribandar Parish Pastoral Council who happens to
be a senior Goa Government Forest officer Mr. Francisco Araujo having
tendered his resignation to the Archbishop of Goa.

Father Newton Rodrigues reportedly had also been dogged by
controversory at his earlier postings at the Merces and Usgao Church.
While at Usgao Church a seaman from Velim Mr. Constancio D’ Silva on
16th November 1999 reportedly committed suicide in front of the Usgao
Church as his wife was allegedly living with Father Newton Rodrigues.

Interestingly while Adv. Aires Rodrigues and 14 others were charge
sheeted for confronting Fr. Newton Rodrigues on the alleged
molestation issue, the case filed against Fr. Newton Rodrigues by the
mother of the 13 year old girl who was allegedly molested by Fr.
Newton Rodrigues was closed after then Governor of Goa Mr. S.C Jamir
reportedly intervened to save Fr. Newton Rodrigues from being charge

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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