Activist claims priest tried to molest him

Activist claims priest tried to molest him

CIVIL society activist Vincent Wijeysingha (left), 44, claims a Catholic priest tried to molest him when he was a teenager.

He made the allegation on Monday night in a Facebook post that attacked the Catholic church for its stand, expressed last Saturday, that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) relations are "not in accordance with the plan of God".

In response, the Church said yesterday its "stand on sexuality should not be distorted".

It added that the intent of Archbishop William Goh's statement last weekend was "to clarify to the Catholic Faithful its position with regard to the family... not to engage in a debate on the issue of LGBT purely on the level of reason, because faith while not opposed to reason, transcends reason".

The statement from the Arch- diocese Communications Office, however, did not comment on Dr Wijeysingha's molest claim.

In the Archbishop's weekend statement, read out during mass at 30 churches across Singapore, he said the family unit comprises a father, mother and children.

But the Church recognises there are individuals attracted to people of the same sex, he added, and discrimination of any kind should not be condoned, as "regardless of their sexual orientation... (they are) worthy of love and respect".

His statement was issued amid protests by some groups over the Pink Dot event this Saturday.

But for Dr Wijeysingha, Singapore's first openly gay politician who quit the Singapore Democratic Party last year, it was the catalyst for his decision to make public the alleged incident when he was 15 years old.

He wrote in his Facebook post that he met a priest "who would engage me in play wrestling and attempt to touch my crotch in the process".

The priest also took him once to his bedroom to show him a stack of pornographic magazines stashed in his wardrobe.

The incident "didn't damage me", he said.

He then went on to condemn the Archbishop's statement for "its cynical attempt to portray the church as a compassionate and empathetic organisation concerned for the souls of LGBT people".

Referring to the child abuse cases that had rocked the Catholic Church in Europe and the United States, he added: "Today, it has no authority whatsoever, moral or otherwise, to comment on whom I can and cannot love."

When contacted yesterday, he declined to comment further.


This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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