Three-year jail term for paedophile priest

Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson  

Septuagenarian from Britain took advantage of his ward

A retired British priest, Jonathan Robinson, 76, who sexually abused a boy inmate of his orphanage, was on Friday convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a Judicial Magistrate’s court at Valliyoor. He shall also pay a fine of Rs. 6,000. He has 30 days to file an appeal, and the court has granted him bail for the period.

This is seen as a rare case where a paedophile who had left India was forced to come back and face trial in a court of law. The boy had stayed at the orphanage along with 32 other disadvantaged children, including 10 girls. Following a tip-off, a Bangalore-based nongovernmental organisation followed Rev. Jonathan when he went to Madurai, Kodaikanal, Delhi and Shimla in April 2011 along with the boy. The Valliyoor police registered a case against Rev. Jonathan based on a complaint from the NGO.

All the inmates of the orphanage, founded in 1995, were shifted to ‘Saranaalayam’, a home run by Catholic Missionaries in Tirunelveli for orphans and destitute women. After Rev. Jonathan left for Wales, the Judicial Magistrate issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.

Red Corner notice

The police issued a Red Corner notice against him. After the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed the police to advise the withdrawal of the Red Corner notice as it prevented him from entering India to defend the case, the non-bailable warrant was also recalled by the trial court.

Rev. Jonathan returned to India of his own, surrendered before the Judicial Magistrate at Valliyoor on November 26, 2015, and filed an ‘advance hearing petition’ even as the chargesheet was filed against him. Over a 40-year priestly career, Rev. Jonathan had held positions in churches in London, Surrey, Bath and Herefordshire before retiring in 2011.

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