Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Australia: accused priest denies Anglican prelate’s allegation

Catholic World News - September 14, 2011

Msgr. Ian Dempsey, a former chief chaplain of the Australian Royal Navy and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, has denied allegations that he sexually assaulted Archbishop John Hepworth, the onetime Catholic seminarian and priest who is now primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Citing parliamentary privilege, Sen. Nick Xenophon named Dempsey on September 13.

“I wish to state that I am aware of John Hepworth's unsubstantiated allegations against me, through an inquiry instigated by the (Catholic) Archbishop of Adelaide,” said Dempsey. “'I've made it clear in writing to the inquiry that I categorically deny the allegations, which I note, are said to have occurred some 45 years ago and have nothing to do with underage people. As the inquiry is ongoing I have nothing further to say at this point apart from denying the allegations.”

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said that he had not suspended Msgr. Dempsey because the allegations did not involve child sexual abuse. Father Brian Lucas, general secretary of the bishops’ conference, said that the allegations “related to a claim involving two priests in their late 20s some 40 or so years ago,” in the words of the Adelaide Advertiser.

Archbishop Wilson added the claim that Archbishop Hepworth had not given the archdiocese permission to investigate the allegation until February 2011.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($25,337 to go):
$150,000.00 $124,662.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Pablo71 - Sep. 14, 2011 7:09 PM ET USA

    To explain what 'parliamentary privilege' is, Members of Parliament cannot be sued for defamation (libel/slander) for anything they say in Parliament. If the Senator had repeated the allegation outside the Senate chamber, the accused priest could sue him for defamation. It is a privilege that is only rarely used to make accusations about members of the public. (Accusations about other members of parliament are more common.)

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19
Federal debt as a social-justice concern December 19
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17