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Singapore

Prominent figure in Catholic community charged with sex offences against teenage boys

Prominent figure in Catholic community charged with sex offences against teenage boys

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A prominent figure in the local Catholic community was charged in court on Thursday (Jan 20) with sexual offences against teenage boys between 2005 and 2007.

The man cannot be named due to detailed gag orders imposed by the court, that prohibit the publication of his name, designation, appointment and a school he was linked to.

He was handed two counts of voluntarily having carnal intercourse against the order of nature with two male teenagers, and two counts of committing indecent acts with two male teenagers.

It is unclear if the two boys in the carnal intercourse charges are the same victims in the indecent act charges.

The man is accused of having carnal intercourse by performing a sex act on a boy aged between 14 and 15 sometime between April 2007 and December 2007.

He is accused of the same act with another boy aged between 14 and 16 between January 2005 and December 2006.

Sometime in 2005 at a location redacted from charge sheets, the accused allegedly masturbated a boy who was between 14 and 15.

He is accused of doing the same to another boy who was between 14 and 15 sometime between April 2007 and December 2007.

The prosecutor on Thursday asked for the man to be remanded for psychiatric observation, to evaluate whether he is suffering from any abnormality of mind that could have impaired his mental responsibility for the alleged acts.

The man's lawyer, Mr Edmond Pereira, asked for no plea to be recorded at this stage, adding that he would be making representations on behalf of his client.

The prosecutor was granted a request for a gag order to be issued, to cover the location and school involved, the identities of the victims and the accused, as well as the designation and appointment of the accused. 

The accused is set to return to court next month.

If convicted of carnal intercourse against the order of nature, an offence that has since been repealed, he can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

If convicted of an indecent act with a young person, he can be jailed up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both if it is his first offence.

Repeat offenders for such crimes face a maximum of four years' jail, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(ac)
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