Click here to advertise on

Archdiocese finds ‘no substance’ to rape allegation; Anglican traditionalist denounces inquiry

Catholic World News - November 28, 2011

An investigation conducted by an attorney under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Adelaide has found that Msgr. Ian Dempsey, a former chief chaplain of the Australian Royal Navy and archdiocesan vicar general, did not sexually assault Archbishop John Hepworth, the onetime Catholic priest who is now primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Attorney Michael Abbott “personally interviewed 29 witnesses, many of whom were present at the time that the events were alleged to have occurred,” said Archbishop Philip Wilson. “Archbishop Hepworth’s claims against Msgr. Dempsey, which were analyzed and examined in details, were comprehensively rejected by Mr. Abbott.”

Archbishop Hepworth denounced the Adelaide inquiry, noting that a similar investigation in the Melbourne archdiocese had vindicated his claims and resulted in in an apology and a $75,000 settlement. The Anglican cleric lamented:

Given that so many perpetrators of abuse were moved from diocese to diocese, this process leaves the way open for findings in favour of victims in one diocese to be reconsidered by another diocese and overturned.

Senator Nick Xenophon, who invoked parliamentary privilege in accusing Dempsey by name in September, also said that the investigation was a sham.

In a related development, Archbishop Hepworth has been told that he would be welcomed as a member of the new Anglican ordinariate within the Catholic Church in Australia, but only as a layman, not as a priest. The Anglican prelate--who was in the forefront of efforts by conservative Anglicans to gain corporate entry in the Catholic Church--indicated that he is now weighing his options.

Under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution that established the Anglican ordinariates, Anglican priests may be considered for ordination into the Catholic clergy on a case-by-case basis. The case of Archbishop Hepworth presents a special problem for the Vatican, because he was ordained as a Catholic priest before leaving the Catholic Church to become an Anglican. He has also been married, divorced, and remarried, and is therefore ineligible for consideration to become a Catholic bishop.

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!

Progress toward our July expenses ($33,425 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,574.95
96% 4%
Sound Off! 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 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: kmbold - May. 22, 2012 8:35 PM ET USA

    "(S)pecial problem", indeed. More like a mare's nest.

  • Posted by: Salome - Nov. 28, 2011 5:34 AM ET USA

    As a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion with sights set on the Ordinariate when one's erected in Australia, all I can say to this wonderful news is Alleluia. And can someone please shove a sock in Senator Megaphone . . .

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Making Moral Progress? 22 hours ago
Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision July 2
Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited July 2
A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear June 30
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects June 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15