No Substance Archbishop John Hepworth’s Rape Claim
November 28, 2011 3 Comments
There is no substance to a breakaway Anglican church leader’s claim to have been raped by a Catholic priest, Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson says.
So it in other words: Archbishop John Hepworth is lying.
Traditional Anglican Communion Archbishop John Hepworth said earlier this year he had been the victim of violent rapes by three priests that began in 1960, when he was 15.
Senator Nick Xenophon named an Adelaide priest as one of the rapists under federal parliamentary privilege, saying the Catholic Church had taken too long to investigate.
Adelaide Archbishop Wilson said today that an independent inquiry into the allegations by Michael Abbott QC had found there was no substance to the allegations.
The investigation included interviews with 29 witnesses, many of whom were present at the time the events were alleged to have occurred, and examination of a large number of documents including those dating back to the relevant period, Archbishop Wilson said.
“I am satisfied that Mr Abbott examined every aspect of the allegations raised by Archbishop Hepworth,” he said in a statement today.
Archbishop Wilson said Mr Abbott also found there was no basis to Senator Xenophon’s criticism of the Archdiocese’s handling of the complaint.
“He found the matter was handled in a completely appropriate and professional way … and in accordance with proper procedures and sensitivity towards Archbishop Hepworth.”
Monsignor Dempsey earlier said it was “totally unfair and unjust” of Senator Xenophon to have named him under parliamentary privilege as a rapist.
He said he had never had sex of any kind, consensual or not, with Archbishop Hepworth.
Archbishop Hepworth, who is primate in Adelaide of the splinter group Traditional Anglican Communion, has said he was an adult when he was allegedly raped by Monsignor Dempsey.
Archbishop Hepworth has said he broke away from the Catholic Church because of the abuse. The two other accused priests are dead and his claims about them have been settled with the Catholic Church.