Ex-priest claims abuse whistleblowers shunned by Australian church: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013, p 7. March 26, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Alan Sapsford, Paul Walliker
A former Anglican priest testified last week before a Victorian parliamentary inquiry that he had been ostracized by the church after reporting incidents of clergy sexual child abuse.
Fr. Paul Walliker, who now serves as a priest of the Antiochian Orthodox archdiocese of Australia, said whistle blowers were shunned by the Anglican church. “The support we received from the diocese was zip, zero, zilch,” he told the committee taking evidence at the Bendigo town hall.
On 13 March 2013 Fr. Walliker said he had helped five women press charges against the Rev. Alan Sapsford, however the abuse claims were not believed by many members of the congregation.
“I received death threats. My family was harassed. People abused me in the street,” he told the parliamentary inquiry. “I lost money, I had to sell my house and had to move. I had to pay for counselling for my daughters.”
While the “support we received from the diocese was nothing.”
In 2003 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7:30 Report claimed Mr. Sapsford, who was a parish rector in Seymour from 1966 to 1996 and archdeacon of the diocese of Wangaratta, had sexually abused over 30 boys and a number of women while serving at the parish.
After one of his victims, who later became an Anglican priest informed the church of the abuse, Mr. Sapsford confessed his guilt in a letter to Bishop Paul Richardson of the Diocese of Wangaratta.
Fr Walliker said Bishop Richardson withdrew Mr. Sapsford’s licence and allowed him to retire due to ill-health. Archbishop Keith Rayner subsequently gave him a limited licence to officiate in Melbourne. In September 2002, Mr. Sapsford was arrested and charged with child abuse. He died in March 2003 before his case went to trial.
The committee is investigating the response of religious and other non-government groups to the criminal abuse of children. It has received over 300 submissions and heard testimony from more than 90 witnesses. Its report is due in September 2013.