Indian priest held for rape after minor delivers baby

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Priest has been jailed over child abuse.

NEW DEHLI - An Indian priest was arrested on charges of raping a teenager in southern India after the 16-year-old victim gave birth, police said on Tuesday.

Father Robin Vadakkumchery was arrested late on Monday after the teenage girl gave birth in a surprise delivery, alleging that the priest had assaulted her at a church-run school in southern Kerala state.

"The girl accused the priest of sexual assault and he was arrested after being on the run for two weeks," Prajish Thottathil, a senior police officer in the victim's hometown told AFP.

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The victim and her family were unaware of the pregnancy but visited the hospital after she complained of stomach pains on 7 February, the officer said. 

A child rights charity reported the secret delivery to the police, leading to an investigation that revealed the alleged involvement of the priest.

The family had abandoned the newborn at an orphanage, police said.

Both the baby and the mother have now been sent to a government-run welfare home.

Sex -- whether consensual or otherwise -- with a person below 18 years of age is considered rape under India's child protection laws.

Some 20,000 minors were raped or sexually assaulted in India in 2015, according to government data.