S. Korea Catholic church says ‘devastated’ by sex abuse scandal

AFP via The Straits Times

February 28, 2018

South Korea’s Catholic hierarchy on Tuesday (Feb 27) said it was “devastated” by allegations that a priest had tried to rape a woman, after she came forward to join the country’s burgeoning #MeToo movement.

The Catholic Church has been rocked around the globe by years of damaging clerical sex abuse cases as well as cover-ups by senior church officials who often ignored victims and protected predators.

Until now the church in South Korea had largely avoided such scandals.

But earlier this month, a female congregant took the rare step of appearing on television to accuse a priest of sexually abusing her in 2011, sparking widespread fury.

Announcing she was inspired by the global #MeToo movement to go public, Ms Kim Min Kyung said the unnamed priest sexually abused and tried to rape her during a volunteer mission in South Sudan.

On Tuesday, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) issued an apology – the second from church leaders in the last three days – while a top archbishop said the priest had been removed from his parish pending an investigation.

“All bishops leading the South’s Catholic church, myself included, have been left shocked, baffled and devastated by this incident,” Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee Joong, the president of the CBCK, told reporters, bowing deeply and apologising to the victim, her family and those left angry by the case.

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