This is so sad. The whole thing.
The priest accused of raping Archbishop John Hepworth 40 years ago remains suspended from duties six months after the allegations were raised.
Monsignor Ian Dempsey, the parish priest at Hallett Cove and Brighton has been unable to return to his work because the police investigation remains open.
An Adelaide priest, speaking to The Advertiser on the condition on anonymity, has criticised the Adelaide Archdiocese’s handling of the incident, saying Monsignor Dempsey, Archbishop Hepworth and the Church had all suffered as a result.
Monsignor Dempsey’s suspension comes despite the fact a church investigation cleared him of the allegations in November last year.
The results of that investigation prompted breakaway Anglican Archbishop Hepworth to raise the matter with police.
The priest said Archbishop Philip Wilson’s failure to act when Archbishop Hepworth first made the allegations more than four years ago set into motion a chain of events that caused damage to all involved.
Monsignor Dempsey was last year named in Federal Parliament as an alleged rapist by Independent Nick Xenophon. “They bungled the entire procedure and as a consequence nobody is the better,” the priest said. “Dempsey claims to be innocent, but he can’t come back to ministry. He remains suspended.
“His reputation could have been salvaged if four years ago they would have followed a procedure.
“When you don’t follow a procedure you are bound to make mistakes and grave errors.” Police have refused to confirm whether there is an ongoing investigation or even if they ever opened an investigation.
Prominent Adelaide businessman Graham Spurling, a parishioner and close friend of Monsignor Dempsey, said he was extremely frustrated that the case had not yet been resolved, leaving Monsignor Dempsey’s future in limbo.