India, New Delhi: The prosecutor said on Wednesday, a court in Kerala has sentenced a Christian priest to 40 years in prison for repeatedly raping a 12 year old girl at the church where he worked. Sanil K. James was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting the girl at a Salvation Army church in Kerala’s Thrissur in 2014.
The 37-year-old is also being investigated for the alleged rape of another girl during the same period. Special prosecutor Pious Mathew told AFP, “The court said the priest deserved the maximum punishment for this cruel act”. Prosecutors told the court James had raped the girl, now aged 13, several times inside the church complex over a period of two months. The judge ordered that he should not get remission and also imposed a Rs. 20,000 fine.
He was given two 20 year sentences, one under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences act and one under a separate section of the criminal law covering the rape of children. Activist Smriti Minocha said the length of the term was highly unusual in a country where even those sentenced to life usually only serve 14 years.