Divine Mission Society, "Trinity",
Near Government Hospital,
Karnad, Mulki-574154. Mangalore, D.K, Karnataka, India.
A Divine Word priest could face a maximum of 10 years in prison if found guilty on charges of cheating and harassing a woman who claims he fathered her children.
Father Jacob Gerald Sequeira
Father Jacob Gerald Sequeira was arrested in Mangalore, in Karnataka state on July 20, and appeared in court in Hyderabad, capital of the neighboring Andhra Pradesh, on July 22.
He was released on bail of 10,000 rupees (US$206) on July 23 after being charged with cheating and harassment of the woman, who calls herself Shoba Rani Sequeira.
The offence of cheating carries a penalty of up to seven years´ imprisonment and/or a fine. Harassment, defined under the Indian Penal Code as making unlawful demands, carries a penalty of three years´ jail and/or a fine.
The popular priest, known to locals as Father Jerry, is the founder of Divine Call Center in Mulki, in Karnataka state. The center offers retreats for local Catholics. Father Sequeira belongs to the Bombay province of the Society of the Divine Word.
The woman complainant, a resident of Hyderabad, alleges that the priest lived with her for several years and that she had children fathered by him.
Father Sequeira claims he is innocent and says he has been framed.
The police said the woman could not provide proof of her marriage to the priest.
Father Sequeira had worked in Andhra Pradesh for several years before being transferred to Mangalore more than 10 years ago, a priest who did not want to be named told UCA News.
The Divine Word retreat center´s website says that Father Sequeira was involved in a dispute with his order. A new director of the retreat center, Father Cyprian Lewis, was appointed in February.
Andhra Police Arrest Fr Jerry Sequeira in MangalorePics: Dayanand Kukkajehttp://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=62980
Daijiworld Media Network—Mangalore (RS/CN)
Mangalore, Jul 21: A drama unfolded after a team of policemen from Andhra Pradesh, who had been in the city to make an arrest, were accosted by some local youths on Monday evening, July 20.
The four policemen had arrested Fr Jerry Sequeira, founder, Divine Call Centre at Mulky, based on a complaint lodged against him in a women’s police station in Hyderabad by a woman.
The police from Hyderabad had arrested the accused from his residence after informing their counterparts at Mulky police station.
The group of youths got the impression that this was an attempted kidnap and tried to get Fr Sequeira released by confronting the Andhra police while they were taking a tea break at a hotel while escorting the accused to Hyderabad.
The Andhra policemen explained to the youngsters in Telugu that the arrest was legitimate and based on a complaint. But the youths began alleging that it is a kidnapping.
They tried to take away Fr Sequeira and a quarrel broke out. Later, the Andhra police called in the local police as a crowd gathered.
Kadri police took into custody two people from Mulky who were involved in the incident.
Shivaprasad, sub-inspector, Kadri police station, said that the whole incident was a result of a misunderstanding arising from rumours of the arrest and language problems as the Andhra policemen spoke only in Telugu which the youth could not understand.
He said that the confusion was cleared after they were taken to the police station.
After the issue was resolved, the Andra Pradesh police left for Hyderabad with the accused.