Archbishop apologises after member of Catholic order jailed in S'pore for sex acts on 2 teens

Archbishop William Goh apologised on behalf of the Church and asked for the incident to be a wake-up call for the Catholic community here. PHOTO: ARCHIE.WILL/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - Archbishop William Goh, the leader of Singapore's Catholic Church, on Thursday (May 5) apologised to the Catholic community here over the crimes committed by a member of a religious order of the Catholic faith.

Earlier on Thursday, a man was jailed for five years for committing unlawful sexual acts with two teenage boys.

In a letter on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore website, Archbishop Goh said he was sorry for the man's offences and asked for the incident to be a wake-up call for the Catholic community here.

He said: "As Archbishop and leader of the Catholic community in Singapore, I humbly apologise on behalf of the Church. My heartfelt sympathy to those who have suffered on account of this crime.

"I pray that they will find healing and closure, and we journey with them as a Church through this pain. May justice be rendered accordingly."

The man had pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily having carnal intercourse against the order of nature and one charge under the Children and Young Persons Act.

Archbishop Goh said he wanted to assure the Catholic community that the Archdiocese takes very seriously the provision of a safe environment, especially where children and young persons are present.

He referred to the Professional Standards Office that was established in 2011 to protect the interests of the community's vulnerable that has been headed by a lay person since 2018.

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The office is made up of professionals, including former district judges, senior lawyers and psychologists, not all of whom are Catholics.

It operates independently in accordance with both Singapore and Catholic laws, without any interference from the hierarchy of the Church, said the Archbishop.

He added: "The cold reality of having an incident like this on our shores is sobering. Many good church leaders have sacrificed much to remain faithful to the gospel and have worked hard to instil the values of our Catholic faith in the young.

"A cloud of suspicion now hangs over those who have given themselves to live a life of service."

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