Viceroy says sorry to abused woman
By Alan Thornhill
GOVERNOR-General Peter Hollingworth has apologised personally to a woman who says he virtually called her a slut.
Dr Hollingworth offered his apology in a telephone conversation yesterday afternoon. He also offered to meet the woman.
The woman was sexually abused when she was 14. The man involved, Donald Shearman, was then an Anglican priest.
Now a retired bishop, he was warden at a Church boarding hostel in the New South Wales country town of Forbes when the abuse occurred in the mid-1950s.
[PICTURE of Dr Hollingworth]
The woman, who has not been named, later complained to Dr Hollingworth, who was then Anglican archbishop of Brisbane. She said that although the retired bishop had later admitted his crime in Dr Hollingworth's presence, the archbishop had done nothing about it.
Dr Hollingworth later tried to explain his attitude on the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] television program Australian Story by saying he did not believe the girl had been abused.
"Rather, it was the other way round," Dr Hollingworth said then.
That remark precipitated public outrage and Dr Hollingworth has since apologised for it, saying at one stage that he had apparently misheard the question.
Barnardos Australia, one of Australia's oldest child welfare agencies, was the latest organisation to distance itself from the Governor-General over his handling of the abuse allegations. The charity said yesterday it scrapped the printing of its annual review because it featured a letter from Dr Hollingworth. -- with AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS
The West Australian, Saturday March 2 2002, p 8
© 2002 West Australian Newspapers Limited All Rights Reserved.
The West Home at http://www.thewest.com.au/ To e-mail letters to the editor use: firstname.lastname@example.org
A: Guidelines for handling clergy abusing children www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/nonmarital.htm Feb 19 2002
B: Fathers would make the best "Fathers"; how to select minsters; Mar 4 02
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E: Governor-General says sorry to abused woman The West Australian Mar 2 02.
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F: Paying for sins of the fathers The Weekend Australian Mar 2-3 02
J: Resign, U.S. R.C. priest abusers told, N.Z. C. of E. testing victims The West Australian Mar 5 02
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