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India: Salvation Army pastor jailed for rape of 12-year-old girl

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Central Prison, Kannur, where Sanil P James is being held.

A Salvation Army pastor in the Indian state of Kerala will serve 20 years in prison for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Sanil P James was also fined 20,000 rupees (£200), while the victim will receive around £3,000 from the state’s Victim Compensation Fund.

James was sentenced to 20 years of ‘rigorous imprisonment’ under the Indian Penal Code and another 20 for offences committed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), reports the Times of India.

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The sentences will run concurrently.

According to the prosecutor, Pious Matthew, this was the first time a sentence of this length had been awarded under the POCSO Act.

He said the 35-year-old pastor had raped the girl at his home when she had taken some herbal medicine for his child there. The judge, KP Sudheer, said he had distracted other children by letting them watch TV while he carried out the crime.

James has also been accused of another child rape. He is being held in the Central Prison, Kannur.

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