Five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Kottayam, Kerela) have been accused of sexually abusing and blackmailing a woman.

An audio clip from the victim’s husband was making rounds on the internet who made allegations against the priests that they were blackmailing his wife by revealing secret confessions by the woman for sexual favors.

The Kottayam-based church had earlier promised “clear and impartial” investigation, and suspended the priests, but the National Commission for Women (NCW) and social bodies demanded action. Former Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan had also written to the Kerala police for a thorough investigation.

He alleged that one of the priests, who first exploited his wife, continued it by blackmailing her. When she sought help from another priest, he, too, threatened her and shared her details with fellow priests.

The husband made allegations after reading wife’s email from these priests who were blackmailing her continuously for a long time and even before they were married.

“The church has acted in the utmost responsible manner … Today as things stand, the five are suspects. The probe is on and when the report comes, the church will act on it,” said Mr Oommen told news agency IANS.

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