Robin Vadakkumchery, a Catholic priest from Kerala’s Kannur, was on Saturday sentenced to 60 years in jail after he was found guilty of raping and impregnating a minor girl.

The 51-year-old, who was tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, was sentenced in three different cases of rape and abuse of minor girls. However, four nuns, another priest, and one more woman attached to the convent, who were co-accused in the police charge sheet, were let off due to lack of adequate evidence.

Vadakkumchery, the priest from the Mananthavady diocese in Wayanad district, was also fined Rs 3 lakh by Thalassery Judge PN Vinod.

Vadakkumchery was serving as a parish vicar near Kannur and was the manager of the Church-backed-school where the victim, a Class 11 student, was studying.

The case came to light in February 2017 when police zeroed down on Vadakkumchery as the main accused and arrested him.

Vadakkumchery was arrested on February 27, 2017, near Kochi International Airport while he was preparing to escape from the country.

A childline agency, that works among school children, had registered the complaint against the priest who came under pressure after the girl gave birth to a child on February 7, 2017, at a hospital run by the management.

During the trial, the victim and her mother turned hostile. Despite that, the court proceeded on the basis of evidence collected already and handed out the verdict.

The police will appeal against the discharge of the six others, who were found to have failed in discharging their duties.

(With agency inputs)