Police are on the lookout for a Roman Catholic priest in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl student here. They are also searching for a doctor, S. Meenakshi of Tirunelveli Town, who reportedly conducted the termination of pregnancy to remove the standard XI student’s five-month-old foetus.
Police said the parish priest of St. Antony’s Church in Pettai, Fr. Gnanapragasam Selvan, hailing from Kailasapuram near Puliyampatti in Tuticorin district, allegedly committed the crime. When the girl’s parents came to know of her pregnancy, they took up the issue with the priest, who reportedly promised to give “adequate compensation,” besides taking care of the medical expenses of her mother, a cancer patient.
Subsequently, the victim, a member of the church choir, was taken to a doctor in Tirunelveli Town for the termination of pregnancy and the foetus was reportedly buried in the cemetery under the control of St. Antony’s Church. However, a group of devotees, who informed the police about the incident, also persuaded the parents to file a formal complaint with the All Women Police, Tirunelveli, who have registered a case.
When contacted, Bishop of Palayamkottai RC Diocese Rt. Rev. A. Jude Paulraj said he did not receive any information from the police. Bishop’s House sources said a three-member team questioned Fr. Gnanapragasam on Tuesday. But he denied the charge.