Christian Priest held for raping minors

published on February 22, 2013
RAIPUR: In a shocking incident, a Catholic priest was arrested on Wednesday from a remote village in Ambikapur district of Chhattisgarh for sexually assaulting four minor tribal girls. Medical examination of the minors aged between six and eight years confirmed rape.

Confirming the arrest Ambikapur district collector R Prasanna told TOI, “Father Vincent Toppo, a priest of Latin right, has been arrested. Parents of minor girls had complained on Tuesday that their children were sexually assaulted. We sent them for a medical examination that confirmed sexual assault.”
He said the girls have been shifted to a children’s home under the direct supervision of district administration. Sexual assault case came to light when parents of girls came forward to lodge a complaint with the administration that their children were sexually assaulted by the priest, who was in-charge of “Ashadeep Missionary School” at a village in Dahima development block in Ambikapur district.

The victims belonged to the tribal Oraon community while the accused priest, Fr Vincent Toppo is also a %tribal.

Additional superintendent of police A R Vairagi said cases under the provisions of newly formed stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, Indian Penal Code sections 354 a (assault or use criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe her), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 b (criminal intimidation), 376 (rape) have been slapped against the %accused.He said the priest was produced in a court which remanded him to judicial custody till March 7.

Bishop Patras Minj of diocese of Ambikapur could not be reached for his comments. However, diocese spokesperson Fr Xavier Ekka told TOI, “We can’t believe this. What else can I say. I will have to check what Fr Toppo told police in his statement.”

The latest is the second incident of its kind in the state. In January this year, a rape scandal involving girls in the age group of eight to 10 years, rocked the state when a teacher and watchman of a government run tribal girl’s hostel in Kanker were arrested following complaints.

Medical examination of minor tribal girls had confirmed sexual assault and the Kanker district administration had launched criminal proceedings against a number of people, including government officials, for their negligence and laxity. The issue had also figured in the assembly on Tuesday when the opposition moved an adjournment motion.

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