Vincent Wijeysingha rejects Catholic Church request to lodge complaint over molest allegation

Jeanette Tan
Vincent Wijeysingha announced his resignation from the Singapore Democratic Party on Wednesday afternoon. (Yahoo! file photo)

After raking up a three-decade-old incident where a priest allegedly tried to molest him when he was a teen, Singapore civil activist Vincent Wijeysingha said he has rejected a request from the Catholic Church to file an official report. The Church has asked him to either file a police report or a complaint with an internal church body which can investigate the case.

In a Facebook status on Saturday afternoon, the former Singapore Democratic Party member said he received a letter from a representative of the Catholic Church’s professional standards office on Thursday, 4 July. In the correspondence, the representative invited the 44-year-old to lodge a complaint with the police as well as the office so that both parties can investigate the accusation he made last month.

Wijeysingha, who said previously that he is Catholic, had in an earlier Facebook note written that he “came into unfortunate contact with a priest who would engage (him) in play wrestling and attempt to touch (his) crotch in the process”.

“He once brought me to his bedroom and took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe to show me,” he added, saying he was 15 years old at the time.

This, however, is not a “specific allegation of abuse against a priest”, he said in a response to the Church’s letter to him which he published it together on Facebook on Saturday. “It was an attempt without any conclusion and therefore I consider myself neither to have been abused nor damaged subsequently.”

He prefaced this by saying that he “disagree(s)” that the church’s professional standards office takes “such matters” seriously, asserting that “one of the principal ways the Catholic Church abuses the trust of children is by the homophobia it propagates”.

Wijeysingha said that if the Church intended to show love and compassion for LGBTQ Catholics, the Archbishop would not have “made common cause” with the likes of Faith Community Baptist Church pastor Lawrence Khong and Islamic religious teacher Noor Derros, who led congregations in wearing white to protest the Pink Dot movement.

“I am sorry to have to say, therefore, I have no confidence in church agencies,” he added. “Until the church is willing to… undertake a sweeping reform of its teachings on sexuality, I cannot see any good that should come from engaging with the church.”

Slams Archbishop’s letter

In another Facebook note responding to a letter sent by Catholic Archbishop William Goh, who leads the Catholic Church in Singapore, he also asserted that in doing so, Archbishop Goh had “aligned himself and his church with the more homophobic elements emanating from other religious organisations in response to Pink Dot”.

“The church cannot hold a position on both sides of the argument that homosexuality is evil but homosexual people are not. This is essentially nonsense,” he added then.