Contrary to a report out yesterday, it would appear as if Archbishop John Hepworth has no intention of dropping his claims against Msgr Ian Dempsey and the Adelaide Catholic Archdiocese. The Australian:
Archbishop John Hepworth has hit out at reports that he was considering dropping his claim of clerical rape against the Catholic Church, saying there has been no change in the standoff between both parties.
The stalemate threatens to derail an investigation into the allegations.
Archbishop Hepworth, now the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, alleges he was raped by three priests nearly 50 years ago.
But nearly two months after he revealed in The Weekend Australian his claims of systematic sexual abuse, Archbishop Hepworth said he feared his calls for the church to support a mutually agreeable inquiry had fallen on deaf ears.
Responding to a report in an Adelaide newspaper which said he would consider dropping his claims, Archbishop Hepworth said: “The position between the Catholic Archdiocese and me is unchanged. I have withdrawn nothing.”
The Adelaide Archdiocese has hired prominent Adelaide-based silk Michael Abbott QC to investigate the claims, but Archbishop Hepworth said he had refused to participate.“There is a stalemate and I’m hopeful that we can find some way to break through,” Archbishop Hepworth said.
“There’s no good faith and I’m still trying to find some way forward.
“At this stage their solicitors are continuing to demand that I take part in the Abbott inquiry but we are continuing to state that we can’t because we have not been given enough information to have confidence in it and we have objected to Abbott doing it on substantial grounds.”
The priest who is alleged to have sexually abused Archbishop Hepworth has vigorously denied the accusations.
A spokesman for the Adelaide Archdiocese yesterday confirmed the investigation by Mr Abbott was “well and truly in motion”.
“The only thing we have in progress is the Abbott inquiry which is still happening along,” he said.
Archbishop Hepworth said he had proposed a process of mediation with the Adelaide Archdiocese but was concerned it would not be accepted by the Adelaide Archdiocese’s Archbishop Philip Wilson.
“I have attempted to discover a process of mediation but as yet we have no process,” he said.
“We believe we have put forward a pathway that would work but that appears to not have been acceptable.
“I’m now having to consider what options I’ve got and we’re running out of options other than legal ones.”
Archbishop Hepworth said he had raised his claims with the Adelaide Archdiocese four years ago because he wanted to reconcile with the Catholic Church through the ordinariate, an amnesty offered by Pope Benedict XVI to allow former Anglicans to be unified with the church.
He said part of that required his personal reconciliation with the church.
There is additionally a statement to this effect out on the English Catholic Blog:
Statement by Archbishop Hepworth
It has come to my attention that the Adelaide Advertiser may publish a major article tomorrow that implies that I have offered to withdraw my claims against Monsignor Dempsey.
I continue to work towards a decent outcome from the report I have made to the Catholic Church concerning the sexual abuse that forced me to flee the Church. I have devoted the last twenty years to the reconciliation of Anglicans and the Catholic Church, and the realisation of that work is now becoming visible in Australia.
The position between the Catholic Archdiocese and me is unchanged. I have withdrawn nothing.
So, no deal.