TT, Darjeeling, April 28: Two pastors who were in charge of a Siliguri hostel for underprivileged students have been convicted of raping and molesting a minor boarder for almost three years.
Pastor George Samuel, 55, and pastor Johnson E. Devasia, 52, were arrested ain 2013.
“While pastor George has been accused of rape, pastor Johnson was found guilty of molesting an inmate,” public prosecutor Pranay Rai said. “Anupam Mukherjee, special judge (Pocso Act Judge) today sentenced George Samuel to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000. Failure to pay the money would increase the sentence by six months. Johnson E. Devasia has been sent to five years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 2,000. Failure to pay would increase the sentence by three months.”
Both George and Johnson are from Kerala.
“The victim’s parents had taken her to the hostel when she was seven. The hostel provided free education, food and lodging. After the girl attended puberty, she was sexually molested for almost three years by the two accused,” Rai said.
The girl reportedly narrated her ordeal to “an aunty” from a social organisation. “The lady told the field workers of Mary Ward Social Centre in Siliguri and they contacted NGO Childline and Pradhan Nagar police,” Rai added.
The pastors were arrested from the hostel on July 23, 2013, and booked under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.