Kalpetta: Robin Vadkumcherry, who was sentenced for 20 years of rigorous imprisonment in the Kottiyoor minor rape case, has been permanently expelled from priesthood.
The decision comes directly from the Vatican using the special powers of Pope Francis.
After being arrested for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl at Kottiyoor, the bishop of Mananthavady had suspended Syro-Malabar Church priest Robin Vadkumcherry (50) from priesthood in February 2017. Then the diocese had only approved the suspension.
However, the POCSO court in Thalassery completed the hearing of the case and sentenced Robin for 20 years of rigorous imprisonment in three cases and slapped a fine of Rs three lakh on him. Following this, efforts were on to completely remove Robin from priesthood.
The Mananthavady diocese had submitted a detailed report in this regard to the Vatican in April 2019. In June, the Vatican initiated steps in this regard. Later, the Vatican on December 5, 2019 issued an order permanently removing Robin Vadkumcherry from all activities related to priesthood.
The order was sent to the Mananthavady diocese and subsequently handed over to Robin. Later, the diocese submitted a final report to the Vatican recently. The order was officially announced on Sunday.
Robin Vadakkumchery was the vicar of the local church in Kottiyur in Kannur district and manager at the school where the minor girl was studying. He was arrested two years ago while trying to flee to Canada.
The Vatican's action came two years after Pope Francis made it clear that all bishops should adhere to a policy of "zero tolerance" for clergy who sexually exploit children.
(With inputs from PTI)