A court in Kerala, India has sentenced a priest to 40 years in prison for repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl at the church where he worked, the prosecutor said Wednesday.
Sanil K. James was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting the girl at a Salvation Army church in Kerala's Thrissur in 2014.
The 37-year-old is also being investigated for the alleged rape of another girl during the same period.
Prosecutors told the court James had raped the girl, now aged 13, several times inside the church complex over a period of two months.
The judge ordered that he should not get remission and also imposed a Rs 20,000 fine.
He was given two 20-year sentences, one under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences act and one under a separate section of the criminal law covering the rape of children.
Child sexual abuse is common in homes, schools and residential care facilities across India and critics say the authorities have a poor record in bringing offenders to justice.
More than 18,000 children were sexually assaulted in 2014, according to India's national crime records bureau, local Indian media reports.
A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said it was alarmed by widespread violence and sexual abuse of children in India.