SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA)
May 24, 2020
By Park Ji-won
[Includes a screen capture from the website of the Diocese of Incheon]
Bishop John Baptist Jung Shin-chul, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Incheon, issued a statement apologizing for a priest’s sexual abuse of students of a Catholic university about 23 years ago.
The sexual abuse cases were made public recently through an investigative TV program.
In a statement uploaded on the website of the Diocese of Incheon, the bishop said he was deeply sorry for letting such an inappropriate incident happen, confirming the media report was true.
“My sincere apologies for those who were hurt, disappointed and worried after the media report about the incident,” he said. The bishop said the priest in question was in charge of education when Incheon Catholic University was opened and admitted the church mishandled the case.
The bishop went on to say that he took the case seriously and the priest, surnamed Choi, was stripped of his clerical status as of May 8.
The apology came after an episode of SBS’ “Unanswered Questions” which aired on May 16 and covered allegations that Choi, the first president of Incheon Catholic University, sexually abused students between 1996 and 1998. The program included testimonies from alleged victims, as well as former priests and nuns who said they had witnessed or heard of Choi committing acts of sexual abuse such as molesting his students and forcing them to perform oral sex on him.
The SBS program claimed that some victims of Choi committed suicide after being assaulted by the former priest, an allegation that was not confirmed.
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