No, I wasn't abused by priest, says Vincent

No, I wasn't abused by priest, says Vincent

SINGAPORE - Former opposition politician Vincent Wijeysingha has rejected the Catholic Church's offer to investigate an episode he had mentioned in a Facebook post.

In fact, he says, he did not consider himself to have been abused by a priest when he was a teenager.

In response to a letter from the Church offering to pursue the case that he cited, Dr Wijeysingha said that he had "made no specific allegation of abuse against a priest".

His latest post came after the Church invited him to make a complaint about the alleged incident that took place when he was 15 years old.

Dr Wijeysingha, 44, first made public the "sorry incident" in a Facebook post on June 23.

In it, he had referred to a priest "who would engage me in play wrestling and attempt to touch my crotch in the process".

He also claimed that the priest took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe in his bedroom to show him.

However, in his latest post on the issue on Saturday, Dr Wijeysingha, Singapore's first openly gay politician, said: "It was an attempt without any conclusion and therefore I consider myself neither to have been abused nor damaged subsequently."

Referring to the incident as an alleged molestation attempt, the Church had suggested that Dr Wijeysingha either report to the police or to the Catholic Archdiocese Professional Standards Office (PSO).

The PSO oversees procedures dealing with specific allegations of misconduct against clergy, employees and lay volunteers of the Church.

In its letter, the Church wrote: "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."

In response, Dr Wijeysingha criticised the Church for its stand on homosexuality, saying that "the Church's attitude to homosexuals like myself has damaged me far more and continues to damage homosexual people".

He added that until the Church is "willing to publicly acknowledge its responsibility for these problems it has created and undertake a sweeping reform of its teachings on sexuality", he cannot see any good coming from engaging with it.

The first post from Dr Wijeysingha, who quit the Singapore Democratic Party last year, came two days after the Church stated its stand on the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issue.

When contacted yesterday, he declined to elaborate.

Associate Professor Eugene Tan from Singapore Management University said Dr Wijeysingha's allegations, and then his reluctance to follow up on them, make it difficult for people to take him seriously.

"For him now to effectively avoid the matter damages his standing and his credibility," he said.

He added that Dr Wijeysingha should be well aware of the serious allegations he made against a respected institution, and that he owes the Church an apology.

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