A day after the vice-principal of a school in Pune was arrested on charges of attempting to rape a 14-year-old student of the school, the girl’s mother claimed she was being pressured into withdrawing the complaint. “I’ve been getting calls from various cities... insisting I withdraw the case but I’m not going to,” the mother told DNA over phone. “Just because I’m a widow, someone’s trying to threaten to burn my house.”
On Tuesday, Father Egidius Falcao, vice-principal of Don Bosco School in Yerwada locality, was arrested following a complaint lodged by the girl’s mother. “On January 2, Fr Falcao tried to rape my daughter in his office... My daughter somehow managed to escape and informed her friends about it. Later, on reaching home she told me about what had happened,” said the girl’s mother.
She claimed that a former corporator from the area had ignored her request for help. “All I want is justice... Why would I want to malign a priest’s image? He is not our enemy,” she said, going on to add that she respected the vice-principal but “whatever he has done is unforgivable”.
The girl’s mother dismissed talk about her daughter being involved with some boy, to which the priest had objected and warned the teenager about. “These allegations are baseless,” she said.
According to her, the police had helped her a lot. However, she expressed dissatisfaction over the stance of her daughter’s friends. “When I had spoken to them, they told me what my daughter had told me. Now, if they’re changing their stand, it’s unfortunate. They should support my daughter and me in this crisis,” she said.
School Refutes Allegations
The authorities of Don Bosco School in Yerwada, Pune, have refuted the allegation against its vice-principal, Father Egidius Falcao.
Parish priest of Don Bosco Church, Anton D’Souza, said that Fr Falcao had been framed. ”We want the police to probe the case. We want an impartial investigation to be carried out so there is no injustice done to anyone,” said Fr D’Souza.
A teacher of the school, Rituparna Bhingare, said she knew the girl as being of a “problematic nature”. She said that Father Falcao had asked her not to mix up much with the boys. “As a teacher I always gave her good counsel but she was unresponsive. She has also confronted me,” said the teacher.