Archbishop takes sex abuse claim to police

A breakaway Anglican church leader, who claims he was raped by a Catholic priest, has filed a police complaint after an internal church investigation cleared his alleged abuser.


Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) Archbishop John Hepworth said earlier this year he had been raped by three priests, beginning in 1960 when he was 15.

Senator Nick Xenophon named Adelaide priest Monsignor Ian Dempsey as one of the rapists under federal parliamentary privilege, saying the Catholic church had taken too long to investigate.

Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson said on Monday an independent inquiry had found there was no substance to the allegations.

The investigation included interviews with 29 witnesses, many who were present at the time the events allegedly occurred, and a large number of documents including those dating back to the relevant period.

Archbishop Hepworth declined to give evidence to the Catholic inquiry and told reporters on Tuesday that he had now filed a complaint with police after seeking legal advice.

A TAC spokeswoman, Cheryl Woodman, said the Catholic investigation was flawed and had traumatised Archbishop Hepworth.

Witnesses were not allowed indemnity and Archbishop Hepworth had to pay their travel costs, preventing many from speaking out, she said. “

This whole process has been incredibly difficult,” Ms Woodman told AAP.

“I truly believe the Catholic church would be more empathic, more understanding, considering the negative publicity they’ve had and the mishandling of abuse cases.”

Archbishop Hepworth, who is primate in Adelaide of the splinter TAC group, said he was an adult when allegedly raped by Monsignor Dempsey.

He said he broke away from the Catholic Church because of the abuse.