Kochi: A Ernakulam court on Thursday sentenced a Catholic priest, attached to the Lourdes Matha Church, to double life-term for raping a 14-year-old girl several times.
The 41-year-old Catholic priest was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for "remainder of his life, with the court saying he had misused his position, had gone to extent of attributing bad character to the victim and betrayed the believers of the Church.
While convicting Edwin Pigarez, Additional District and Sessions Court Judge KT Nisar Ahammed said, the priest not only assaulted the 14-year-old child "but also betrayed the entire believers of Church. It is pertinent to note that he has gone to extent of attributing bad character to the victim --a small girl."
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,15,000 on Pigarez.
The judge in its order said: "He should be a model for believers and also for general public. He is expected to live a life which could be emulated by others. But contrary to that the first accused has misused his position as a vicar for the church."
A gynaecologist of a government hospital was also also found guilty for not reporting the crime to police.
The girl's mother had alleged that the priest abused her daughter many times when she sought his services for confession.