Years of sexual abuse?

Years of sexual abuse?

Symbol image abuse in the Catholic Church © dpa

In South Africa, twenty years after an alleged abuse case, new allegations are being made against the Catholic Church. It will be investigated and, if necessary, consequences will be drawn, the Archdiocese of Johannesburg announced.

A South African man who was allegedly sexually abused by a priest over several years as a teenager has now filed a lawsuit against the cleric. For its part, the Archdiocese of Johannesburg announced investigations. According to a report in the Weekend Argus newspaper (Sunday), William Segodisho, now 46, belonged to a youth organization that supported armed struggle against racial segregation.

The allegations

As a street child, he had been taken in by a Catholic orphanage. There, a priest allegedly forced him and at least two other boys to engage in sexual acts. Other priests would have deliberately ignored the events.

Allegations were made against the clergyman as long as 17 years ago, and he has since moved to the United Kingdom. The Jesuit order, to which the priest belongs, subsequently withdrew him from all clerical posts. Following the renewed allegations, Thabo Motshegwa, head of a Johannesburg Archdiocese commission of inquiry, announced: "We will continue to investigate and, depending on the results of the police investigation, we will draw consequences."

Request for forgiveness two years ago

In 2016, the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Stephen Brislin, had apologized to victims of sexual abuse in a public letter and admitted mistakes in the process of coming to terms with it. "We ask forgiveness for ourselves and our clergy for not doing enough to acknowledge the physical, emotional and psychological pain that victims of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of family members, fellow citizens and within the church," Brislin said.

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Christina Cherry
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