February 28, 2005

Woman reveals 40-year affair with bishop

The Age

By Barney Zwartz
Religion Editor
March 1, 2005

Beth Heinrich hoped for 40 years that she and Donald Shearman could make a go of it. But he continually betrayed her, and eventually their affair brought down a governor-general.

Mr Shearman, now 79, the former bishop of Grafton, was defrocked as an Anglican clergyman last year. Peter Hollingworth was forced to resign as Australia's viceroy after a church investigation in 2002 found that his handling of the case when he was an archbishop was "inappropriate and unfair". The beginning of the end for Dr Hollingworth was an Australian Story documentary on the ABC, in which he suggested the then 15-year-old Beth initiated sex with Mr Shearman, a priest in charge of the Anglican hostel in Forbes, where she boarded.

Last night Ms Heinrich - now in her 60s, and publicly identifying herself for the first time - took centre stage on Australian Story. Her relationship with the charismatic preacher the girls called Padre, and most of them idolised, started when she was 14 in the mid-1950s.

Posted by kshaw at February 28, 2005 11:11 AM