A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday (Dec 29) sentenced a priest to imprisonment for life for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy at a church in suburban Dadar here in 2015.
Special judge Seema Jadhav found the accused Father Johnson Lawrence guilty of offences under relevant provisions of the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
According to the prosecution, the minor victim had been assaulted twice by the priest between August and November 2015.
The victim, in his statement to police, had said that he had gone to the church in Shivaji Nagar area of Dadar with his brother on November 27, 2015.
After the prayer, the accused called the boy inside to keep a box and then closed the door from inside and sexually assaulted him, the victim informed the police.
The boy also alleged that the priest had committed a similar act a few months earlier.
Acoording to FIR registered, the young boy, who was a frequent visitor to the Church, was asked to stay back alone one day when he was abused.
The boy, from an economically impoverished background, did not immediately inform his parents as he was afraid of the repercussions, the prosecutor said but had fallen sick and had to be hospitalized at a civic hospital, but his behavior at home changed, he appeared scared and did not open up when his parents asked if anything was wrong, said the FIR stated
The victim had given a similar statement before a magistrate as well.
At least nine witnesses were examined during the course of trial, special public prosecutor Veena Shelar said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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