Senator names and shames priest accused of sexual abuse

Outspoken independent senator Nick Xenophon had warned he would identify the man if the Catholic Church of South Australia did not stand him down and launch an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of Archbishop John Hepworth.

Archbishop Hepworth, who was trained and ordained as a Catholic but shifted to the Anglican church in the 1970s, claims he was repeatedly raped and sexually abused over a period of 12 years from age 15 by two priests and a seminary student.

Two of the men are now dead but the third, named by Mr Xenophon as Monsignor Ian Dempsey, runs a parish in South Australia.

Mr Xenophon claimed he was being protected by the Church and allowed to practise despite Mr Hepworth’s allegations.

The Church has defended its decision not to suspend the priest, saying it was consistent with religious and procedural law, and implored Mr Xenophon to desist.

“The priest concerned has categorically denied the allegations and, objectively speaking, it is not irrelevant that he has been a priest of good standing in the archdiocese for almost 50 years,” a legal letter from the Church said.

However, Mr Xenophon said the Church had given him “no choice” but to speak out.

He told an evening sitting of the senate that “sexual abuse flourishes because people keep secrets”, before naming the accused priest.

The move has raised concerns in Australia over the use of parliamentary privilege.

Archbishop Hepworth, who is head of a breakaway Anglican group seeking reconciliation with the Vatican, had earlier called on Mr Xenophon not to name the man, saying he was “saddened” by the “very crude way” the issue was playing out.

“My allegations were a greater story than just this one priest. This treatment of this priest is only one part of that story,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Archbishop Hepworth, who reported the abuse to the Archdiocese of Adelaide more than four years ago, broke his silence over the abuse he suffered at the weekend in an interview with the Australian newspaper.

He said that the abuse began one month after he entered Adelaide’s St Francis Xavier Seminary to fulfil a childhood calling to train for the Catholic priesthood.

After more than a decade of predatory physical and emotional abuse, he fled to England and drove trucks before defecting to the Anglican Church.

He is believed to be the most senior church figure in the world to reveal he was a victim of clerical sex abuse.

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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3 Responses to Senator names and shames priest accused of sexual abuse

  1. Catholics don’t care about child rape. 26 suicides in Australia can be tracked back to Catholic pedophile priest child rape, but Australian Catholics don’t care because their bishop tells them not to.

    Convicted Catholic pedophile priests Robert Best and Gerald Ridsdale raped dozens of children at St Alipius primary school, and at least 26 have committed suicide. Any normal human being would want to find the other victims and prevent further suicides, but Bishop Peter Connors says “there’s no need for an investigation. We’ve learned what we needed to learn about what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t appropriate behavior.”


    The Catholic church should be fully investigated for crimes against children and covering it up, and you can;t trust Catholics to do it.

  2. Pingback: Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

  3. Pingback: The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

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