The Catholic Church in Singapore investigated allegations of inappropriate behaviour between a former altar server, who is an adult male, and several young altar servers between the ages of 11 and 16, The Straits Times reported on April 12, 2021.
However, the findings of the investigations were inconclusive and no police report was made.
The parish was not identified in the ST report.
Occurred over several years
The alleged inappropriate behaviour took place from 2013 to 2019.
The altar server resigned from his role in 2020, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese told ST.
The man involved was initially told to take a leave of absence but he tendered his resignation instead, ST reported.
But he is still receiving counselling on the premises of the parish and is allowed to attend services there, it was also revealed.
Mothership.sg reached out to the Catholic Church in Singapore for additional comment following the publication of the ST report.
The ST report also highlighted that there was a mass resignation event in relation to this incident.
The exodus was likely a result of dissatisfaction stemming from a lack of action by the parish priest and the lack of any police report ever made.
Those who left, some 10 of them, were from the core team of altar servers' society, including the chairman, president and secretary, ST said.
Video of young boy and man in hotel room
This core team alerted the Professional Standards Office (PSO) of the archdiocese and the parish priest in 2020.
This was after they saw a video on social media of a man and a young boy in bed in a hotel room in 2019.
Told to make police report repeatedly
The parents of the young persons involved were told to make a police report if they wanted to, ST reported the spokesperson saying.
Some parents were even repeatedly invited to make police reports.
The ST article said it understood that no one has done so, which prompted the mass exodus from the altar servers' society.
According to the timeline of events stated, the parents were told on Feb. 6, 2020 they could go to the police.
When informed in writing on Feb. 17 that year of the inconclusive verdict of the investigations, they were again invited to go to the police.
Catholic Church in Singapore conducted its own investigations
This case ended up being handled at a parish level as it involved altar servers, who are not clerics but from the lay community and assist the priest.
The PSO was established in 2011 to deal with sexual abuse of young people but only handles complaints against clerics.
The PSO did advise and maintain oversight of investigations, the archdiocese spokesperson told ST.
The inconclusive findings were not made unilaterally but by a committee, ST reported, but no mention was made as to who is on the committee.
The spokesperson also said any dissatisfaction with any outcome can be raised to the vicar-general, who is the number two person in the Singapore archdiocese.
The Catholic Church in Singapore has responded to the ST report.
In a statement on the website of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore put up on April 13, the parish was identified as the Church of the Risen Christ, which is located in Toa Payoh.
The full statement read:
A media report was published today concerning an allegation of inappropriate behaviour involving an altar server and several younger altar servers in one of our parishes.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore would like to clarify that investigations were conducted by the Church authorities in accordance with Church protocols concerning alleged sexual misconduct by members of the laity serving in church ministries and organisations.
The Archdiocese takes all complaints of such nature most seriously. In this instance, the investigation was carried out by the parish priest under the guidance of the Professional Standards Office (PSO) of the Archdiocese.
The outcome of the investigations proved inconclusive.
The alleged victims and their families were advised on several occasions, both verbally and in writing that it was their prerogative to file a police report.
Following the investigations, the person in question tendered his resignation which was accepted by the parish priest. He is currently receiving professional counselling.
The alleged incident occurred as part of a privately organised activity involving some members of the altar servers from the Church of the Risen Christ.
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