New Delhi: The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council has issued guidelines to the clergy, Catholic presbyteries, educational and religious institutions and houses of special care for ensuring zero tolerance to sexual abuse and provide safe environment for minors at Christian institutions.
The key guidelines that were first issued in June 2018, which included reporting of cases of sexual assault and abuse to concerned authorities, avoiding inappropriate physical contact with minors and cooperating in the investigation. The KCBC has also officially recommended defrocking of a priest or member of clergy if found guilty of any sexual crime.
The guideline regarding minors reads: “No minor shall reside in any church rectory or other living quarters of priests.” Another guideline reads: “Overnight trips alone with a minor should be avoided. Do not take photographs of the minors when they are unclothed or are dressing.”
The guidelines also prohibit any sexually offensive humour and also viewing and exhibiting sexually explicit material in the presence of minors and vulnerable adults.
Recently, a nun from the order Missionaries of Jesus has accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese of rape and sexual assault. The allegations have resulted in strike and protests in Kochi demanding arrest of the bishop. Mulakkal was arrested in September 2018 and now he is out on bail.