Aires Rodrigues acquitted in Ribandar church case

Judicial Magistrate First Class Sarika Faldessai on Wednesday acquitted Aires Rodrigues and 14 others in the 2004 Ribandar church case.

Mr. Rodrigues, activist lawyer, and 14 others had been accused of trespassing into the corridor of the Ribandar church in north Goa and disturbing a meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council.

Mr. Rodrigues was then leading an agitation seeking action against Fr. Newton Rodrigues for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old girl. While Mr. Rodrigues and others were charge sheeted for confronting Fr. Rodrigues, the case filed against Fr. Rodrigues by the mother of the victim was closed. Fr. Rodrigues was later relieved from the Archdiocese of Goa and is now the Pastor of St. Bernadette Church at Calgary in Canada. He failed to remain present in court despite being summoned and even a warrant of arrest issued against him.

This is the second case against Mr. Rodrigues in this matter.

Mr. Rodrigues was acquitted on April 9, 2009 in the earlier case by the then Panaji Judicial Magistrate First Class Sharmila Patil who stated that the allegations against him seem to have been manipulated and that he was falsely implicated in the case.

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