February 28, 2005

Sex abuse victim reveals identity

Sydney Morning Herald

The woman at the centre of sexual abuse allegations which helped push former governor-general Peter Hollingworth from office has identified herself publicly for the first time.

Dr Hollingworth, on ABC television's Australian Story program in 2002, appeared to condone a relationship between a priest and a 15-year-old girl.

But the priest involved in the scandal, retired bishop Donald Shearman, 78, was last year stripped of his holy orders over the matter, which dated back to the mid-1950s.

Beth Heinrich, who was a boarder at an Anglican hostel at Forbes in western NSW at the time, has told Australian Story the priest promised her a future with him.

"Whenever his wife was away, padre used to get me to lie naked on their bed with him or else in front of the fire in their lounge room," she said, in an extract aired on AM this morning.

"He got me to read a book called Love in Marriage, which was about sexual techniques and he said: 'This is the way it should be. This is what God wants it to be'."

Posted by kshaw at February 28, 2005 05:01 PM