Kerala: Priest arrested for sexually assaulting seminary student

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A 41-year-old Catholic priest has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 21-year-old seminary student in Kannur.

Father James Thekemuriyil, a former Rector of the Deva Matha seminar at Pattaram in Iritty, had allegedly sexually assaulted the student in May, 2015, police said. Though the student had complained to the church, he was forced by him to withdraw his complaint, police said. The priest was later removed as Rector and was in Bengaluru.

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The student, who later left for Ranchi for higher studies, was physically assaulted by the priest and some others following which he personally appeared before police and filed a complaint. Based on the complaint, police took James into custody and brought him to Irrity and arrested him earlier this week.

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A case under sect 377 (unnatural offence), sect 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC had been registered against him, police said. He was produced before a local court which remanded him to judicial custody.

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(With inputs from PTI)

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