We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $23,825 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
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 Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($23,825 to go):
$25,400.00 $1,575.00
94% 6%
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.)

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines April 24
A More Militant Church? April 24
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops April 24
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot April 24
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? April 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21