"Pastor jailed for multiple rapes Taiwanese pastor sentenced to 10 years in prison. -Sat, Nov 01, 2008 AFP
TAIPEI - A TAIWANESE pastor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping 13 women in his congregation over the course of more than two years, according to a report Saturday.
Tang Tai-shen, 58, sexually abused the women, the youngest of whom was aged only 14 years old, under the pretext of offering them sex counselling and videotaped the crimes, the Apple Daily News said.
He was also ordered by the court to undergo therapy for three years, the report said.
Eight female staffers, including Tang's daughter-in-law, who were in charge of recruiting followers to his self-styled church, also received jail terms of between 12 months and seven and a half years for molesting the women, it said. The pastor was arrested last year and has been detained since.
In 1999, Tang, then a pastor in the 'China Holiness Church', was convicted of molesting a female follower and was sentenced to three years and two months in prison in a case that shocked Taiwan's religious community.
He was released in 2005 after serving the full jail term."
This type of sickening news happened all over the world. For some reasons or the other, some religious persons in position of responsibility simply could not meet the moral standard expected of their religions. They abused the trust given by their followers and caused severe damages to the body, mind, and spirit of the abused! Such crime cannot be condoned and cannot be waved off lightly. The fact that this Tang person is a repeat offender is simply just tragic! How did the Church, is it a legally sanctioned one?, allow him to practice again? While we must be careful not to denied a person who had paid for his crime a new life, putting him back to a position of trust surely need to have some stringent processes to re-qualify him. Were there such a process?
Lessons for me are:
1. to be religious is natural as man need a superior being to explain many of the inexplicable in life. But to totally submit to a religious teacher or leader or position holder is just not logically. But then, religion deals with the heart and not the mind!!;
2. people in position of trust in religious bodies, and for that matter any other public or private offices, must expect to have solid ethical values as foundation of whatever they do. The trust cannot be violated. The damages caused are too far-reaching and traumatic for those who were abused. They will need a lot of help to recover from such hurt and will be traumatized as they, hopefully, slowly regain the ability to trust people again!! IF we cannot measure up the standard of religious bodies, we better stay out of it. To try to 'pretend' you embrace the religious teachings and values will merely delay the exposure of your true evil self. If you don't want to be found out, you just don't do the unethical and immoral acts!!;
3. while we preached understanding and leniency for criminals who paid for their mistakes to get a 2nd chance at a new life, distinction need to be made with people in position of trust but abused it. Due punishment accordingly to the laws of the land must be applied strictly. After that, careful and systematic process to assess the behaviors of the repentant ex-offenders must be implemented, before he or she can be allowed back to holding position of trust again. Of course, the followers must be strong and reject and report any improper behaviours in the 1st instance. Such abusive behaviors CANNOT be tolerated. The repentant criminal also has to accept that more checks on them is natural!
I hope this Tang person will get help but I have my reservation to put him back into a position of trust again if I were the one to make the decision. A hard one to decide but decide firmly we must!! That's what a leader do - making hard decision!!
p/s: Today I sent out an email inviting friends to support my 07 Dec 2008 Marathon fund raising for the Singapore Cancer Soceity again. I target to raise S$5100 as I reached 51-year old!!