Singapore: A civil rights activists and former opposition politician who alleged that a Singapore Catholic priest who showed him pornographic magazines and attempted to touch his crotch as a teenager says he will not file sexual abuse charges.
Dr Vincent Wijeysingha has rejected the Catholic Church’s offer to investigate the alleged episode as had been mentioned in a Facebook post.
Wijeysingha, 44, a former Singapore Democratic Party member who quit the party last August to focus on LGBT rights is the first Singapore politician to come out as gay, says he did not consider himself to have been abused by the priest.
The Catholic Church had offered to pursue the case that he cited but Wijeysingha maintains he had “made no specific allegation of abuse against a priest.”
Wijeysingha first made public the “sorry incident” in a Facebook post on June 23 where he had referred to a priest “who would engage me in play wrestling and attempt to touch my crotch in the process.”
He had also claimed that the priest “once brought me into his bedroom and took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe to show me.”
Wijeysingha said he will not pursue the case as “It was an attempt without any conclusion and therefore I consider myself neither to have been abused nor damaged subsequently.”
However, the Church referred to the incident as an alleged molestation attempt and suggested that Wijeysingha either report it to the police or to the Catholic Archdiocese Professional Standards Office (PSO) that oversees procedures dealing with allegations of misconduct against clergy.
“Please be assured that in the PSO inquiry the determination of the truth will be the paramount objective, and the findings, even if adverse to the Church, will be disclosed,” the archdiocese wrote in its letter.
Wijeysingha has criticized the Catholic stand on same-sex relations, saying that “the Church’s attitude to homosexuals like myself has damaged me far more and continues to damage homosexual people.”
He urged the Church to “publicly acknowledge its responsibility for these problems it has created and undertake a sweeping reform of its teachings on sexuality.” Until that time, he cannot see any good coming from engaging with it, Wijeysingha added.
Wijeysingha in a Facebook post on June 23 rebutted Singapore Archbishop William Goh’s open letter to Catholics that LGBT relations is “not in accordance with the plan of God” by accusing a local Catholic priest of trying to molest him when he was 15 years old.
Associate Professor Eugene Tan from Singapore Management University Wijeysingha’s allegations and reluctance to follow up on them requires that he owes the Church an apology.
Singapore retains a British colonial-era “Section 377A” law that criminalizes same-sex relations with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.