Bishop Shelters Reoffending Predator Priest

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 25, 2022   

Sodomite cleric out of jail abuses victims in diocesan pastoral center

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PUNE, India (ChurchMilitant.com) - A homopredator priest who was released from jail is abusing fresh victims at a diocesan pastoral center, where he is being sheltered by the bishop, Church Militant has learned.

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Nav Sadhana Diocesan Pastoral Center

Father Vincent Pereira, from the Poona diocese, sexually assaulted his victims at the Nav Sadhana Diocesan Pastoral Center in April. The priest was released on bail from the high-security Yerawada Central Jail in March 2020 and is being housed at the pastoral center.   

Headed by Bp. Thomas Dabre, the suffragan diocese of Poona falls under the pastoral oversight of Bombay's metropolitan archbishop, Cdl. Oswald Gracias. Dabre is a former member of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Dabre's Damage Control

On Thursday, Dabre hurriedly called a tribunal to examine the fresh accusations after Church Militant wrote to the bishop asking why he had accommodated Pereira on diocesan premises, as this could provide the predator with easy access to potential victims. 

Dabre did not respond to Church Militant but paid two visits on Wednesday to the pastoral center and summoned Fr. Roque Greene, Fr. Roque Alphonso and Fr. Rajesh Pereira, along with psychologist Fr. Dinesh Braganza, to visit the reoffending priest and prepare a report. 

Email correspondence obtained by Church Militant shows how the bishop insisted on housing the serial offender at Nav Sadhana despite repeated warnings from Fr. Wilfred Fernandes, the director of the pastoral center. 

Why is this predator priest allowed to visit families?

"Dabre is well aware of Pereira's history of pederasty," Dominic Lobo, from the Association of Concerned Catholics, told Church Militant. "To house him in the pastoral center, which is on the same campus as the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is an act of insanity."

Lobo explained that Dabre had "hastily cobbled together the tribunal as an act of damage control so he could show police he was doing something about the recent sexual assault." 

Cdl. Gracias denies covering up a clergy sodomite rape case in Bombay
 

According to two written complaints from the parents, the priest also preyed upon their son when he visited them at their home on Dec. 4, 2021. The assault happened when the mother was in the kitchen. "Why is this predator priest allowed to visit families?" Lobo asked. 

Email Evidence

In an email dated Jan. 23, Fr. Fernandes first informed Bp. Dabre that the parents of the victim (Church Militant has withheld all names in accordance with Indian law) had met him at Nav Sadhana and "shared some shocking information" about Pereira's behavior with the family. 

On April 10, Fr. Fernandes again emailed the bishop informing him about a possible police raid on the diocesan pastoral center. The priest also told Dabre that the police inspector from Kondhwa had phoned Nav Sadhana asking to speak to the reoffender.

The emails are conclusive evidence that Dabre knew Pereira was reoffending.

Later the same night, Dabre, who, thus far, had forced Fernandes to house the predator priest at the pastoral center, now passed the buck on to the director and responded in a terse email, "You must do all that you have to do." 

"The emails are conclusive evidence that Bp. Dabre knew Fr. Pereira was reoffending but chose to do nothing and continued to provide him sanctuary on diocesan property," Lobo told Church Militant. "The predator was also violating his bail conditions by leaving the center and meeting visitors."

Homopredator's History

While he was principal of St. Patrick's High School and Junior College, a diocesan school located on the same campus as the bishop's house, Pereira sexually assaulted a 14-year-old male student after twice showing him pornography on a mobile phone. 

The first assault at the diocesan school took place on Feb. 19, 2018, after the priest called the victim in for an extra singing class. When the boy refused to view the porn video, the priest threatened the student, telling him that he would force him to repeat the ninth grade.

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St. Patrick's Cathedral, Poona diocese

The priest then sexually assaulted the boy and only let the student leave the principal's office when the victim shouted for help.

On March 12, 2018, Pereira sent a school employee to summon the victim to his office. The priest offered a book and chocolates to the student, locked the door, stripped the boy and sodomized him.

When the victim told a classmate about the incident, the classmate said he had undergone a similar ordeal. When the victim reported the matter to the school counselor, Jacqueline Vaz, she told him he would be dismissed if he reported the assault.

The victim and his classmate reported the matter to their teacher, Seema Pawar, who informed the parents. The 55-year-old priest's crimes were brought to light only after Maruti Bhapkar, a leading social activist from Pune, complained to the police.  

Police arrested the priest as he was attempting to evade arrest by boarding a bus for Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat. "The accused was hiding for almost three days before boarding a private bus to Ahmedabad, but a police team tracked him down," investigating police officer, Sayaji Gaware, said.

Dabre is well aware of Pereira's history of pederasty.

Police also charged school counselor Vaz, a Catholic, for covering for Fr. Pereira and not reporting the incident in a timely fashion. 

Predator Paroled

In March 2020, Pereira was released on bail after spending a year and a half in prison. The priest's lawyer argued that Fr. Pereira was falsely implicated and that the victim's story was "not consistent and has been changing constantly." 

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Bp. Thomas Dabre with Pope Francis

Moreover, the parents themselves did not want the priest jailed but only removed from his post and never appointed in any other school, the defense claimed. 

Earlier in 2014, Pereira was relieved from his post as principal of St. Joseph High School in Solapur, a school in Dabre's diocese, after an internal inquiry found him guilty of abusing a teenage pupil at the school.

Dabre, who was previously bishop of Vasai (on the outskirts of Greater Bombay), was transferred to the Poona diocese after complaints from his clergy. "We celebrated with fireworks when the news of his transfer was announced," one priest told Church Militant. 

In June, the bishop's controversial commendation of India's most extreme anti-Christian fascist organization sparked a fierce backlash across the nation, even among liberal Catholics and secular commentators.

Dabre told a gathering of mostly Brahmin Hindus in Pune that "the Christian community accepts the ideology and principles of the RSS," Church Militant reported.

The RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ("National Volunteer Organization") is a far-right paramilitary outfit, drawing its inspiration from Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and advocating a nationalistic agenda under the banner of "Hindutva."  

Urging dialogue between the Church and the extremist organization, Dabre stressed that "the nationalist views of the RSS are the same as that [sic] of the Christian community."

"The Sangh believes in nationalism; the Church also believes in nationalism," the bishop stressed, later dismissing reactions to his outrageous utterances as "a storm in a teacup."

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