Catholic Church asks Vincent Wijeysingha to lodge complaint on molest claims

SINGAPORE - The Catholic Church has invited civil society activist Vincent Wijeysingha to lodge a complaint with its body that deals with misconduct in order to investigate his claim that a priest tried to molest him when he was a teenager.

It has also suggested that he make a police report.

The Catholic Archdiocese Professional Standards Office (PSO) oversees procedures dealing with specific allegations of misconduct against clergy, employees and lay volunteers of the Catholic Church.

The Archbishop's office on Saturday said it is standard procedure for the PSO to get in touch with anyone who makes an allegation against the Church.

"Without the complainant filing a report, we cannot commence investigations," it said.

It added that its "preference is for all criminal acts to be reported to the police".

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Dr Wijeysingha, 44, shared what he said were the contents of a letter from the PSO that was sent on Friday, and his reply to it.

In that reply, he said he had made no specific allegation of abuse against the priest in his original post on June 23.

"It was an attempt without any conclusion and therefore I consider myself neither to have been abused nor damaged subsequently," he said.

Dr Wijeysingha, Singapore's first openly gay politician who quit the Singapore Democratic Party last year, also continued to criticise 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.