‘Perv’ pastor’s wife spills beans, ‘victims’ open up
Wife claims Shantaraju, pastor of Bangalore’s Bethel Church, was having sex with minors; girls say ‘Uncle’ was dirty
Posted On Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 06:49:51 AM
A pastor has been accused by his wife of being a paedophile and of misappropriating church funds. The charges against K Shantaraju, the 45-year-old pastor of the Bethel Church and Bethel Student Centre in Siddhartha Nagar, Jalahalli West, are being probed by the police after a complaint was filed by his wife Priyalatha at Gangammanagudi police station on Wednesday.
Priyalatha said she deferred filing a police complaint against her husband all these years because she thought it fit to first raise the issue with his superiors. She also believed she could prevail upon him to mend his ways, but having failed she has now provided the police with photos which show Shantaraju in various poses with a girl who is allegedly a minor.
“The children who were brought to the centre for the purpose of education are being used for illegal activities. Minors are being used for sexual activities. He has sexual relationships with many girls. I have witnessed these activities. When I questioned him, he threatened to kill me and my two children,”Priyalatha stated in her complaint.
She has been married to Shantaraju for 15 years. After the death of her father-in-law Moses, her husband inherited the church. She alleged that her husband has been misusing donations from abroad.
Shantaraju, who claimed that he has been separated from his wife for 11 years and is fighting a divorce case, denied all charges. “The whole thing is a plot to gain control over the trust and its properties.
We used to receive Rs 2.5 lakh per month to take care of 275 children. She has made these allegations to the donors and donations have stopped in the last few months. She has brainwashed my mother and brother and they are also making false claims against me,” Shantaraju told Mirror.
“Our second daughter is just seven years old and how can he claim that we have been separated for 11 years,” said Priyalatha, replying to his charge.
Shantaraju also alleged that the photos were taken in 2005 and that his wife has manipulated them to show him in bad light. “The girl is 21 years old now and not a minor. I will show the cops the real facts. I am a trained pastor and my only aim is to continue the good work of my father.
Meanwhile on Friday, the case took yet another turn when some girls claimed that the pastor was indeed a sexual predator.
An 18-yr-old girl and former student at the centre, said, on condition of anonymity, that she had seen the pastor and a minor girl at his office room late in the evening many times. She alleged that he would consistently demand sexual favours from other girls.
“It was an year ago. I was here. Uncle (Shantaraju) and the girl went inside his office. They locked the room. He asked me to stand outside and alert him if anyone came. But I told all the older girls who came that the two were inside,” she said.
Another student, a 17-year-old girl, said she and other students were aware of what was going on but got the shock of their lives when one day the pastor called one of them into his office and tried to molest the girl.
Another girl revealed that the pastor was in the habit of taking photos of girls on his mobile phone without their knowledge and later morphing them with pictures of girls from porn websites. “There were young boys too who said he would call them to his office and ask them to massage his body,” she said.
Priyalatha, Shantaraju’s wife was the one who had filed a police complaint against her husband on Wednesday. She lives in a corner of church in a makeshift shack. “I stay here because after these incidents I opposed him and moved out of our house.
But then he spread rumours that I was having an affair with someone else. To prove him wrong I came back. Today, the ACP also spoke to me. He assured me that I would be protected as I have been threatened by Shantaraju and his elder sisters,” she said.
R L N Murthy, Pushpalatha’s lawyer is unhappy with the charges filed by the cops. “The charges filed are under 498(A) and Section 506 of the IPC. These relate to cruelty and criminal intimidation. These are minor charges.
The more serious charges like adultery, foeticide, breach of trust and faith, misuse of donations have been left out. The accused should have been arrested in the first instance when he was called to the station. Now, he is gone into hiding,” Murthy said.
ACP Hanumanthappa confirmed that Shantaraju had gone missing.