SINGAPORE — A man was sentenced to five years' jail on Thursday (5 May) for committing unlawful sexual acts with two teenage boys while he was a member of a religious order of the Catholic faith.
The Singaporean 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. Two other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
According to The Straits Times, the man is not a priest.
Details about the man and his victims cannot be disclosed due to a gag order, which also covers the man's designation and appointment and the address of the incident location.
The Straits Times reported that Deputy Public Prosector Sarah Siaw had asked for four to six years' jail for the man, saying that it was clear the victims had trusted him and he had abused his position of trust.
For voluntarily having carnal intercourse against the order of nature, the man could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
For committing an offence under the Children and Young Persons Act, the man could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 on a first conviction.
Archbishop of Singapore expresses 'sadness and regret'
Following the man's sentencing, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore released a statement by Archbishop of Singapore William Goh expressing his "sadness and regret" on the case.
"Like many of you, I am dismayed, shocked, and ashamed," he said in the statement.
"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."
Archbishop Goh said that the Archdiocese takes the provision of a safe environment very seriously, especially where children and young persons are present.
For example, it has established the Professional Standards Office in 2011 to protect the interests of the vulnerable, and regularly reviews its protocols to provide a safe environment.
"We pray that we all be more vigilant and mindful as leaders and members of the church," he said.
"Let this incident be a wake-up call for us all to take our spiritual life seriously and be awakened from a complacent faith."
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