March 08, 2005

Bishop empathises with priest abuse victim


The Anglican Bishop of Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales has described as "tragic" the saga of a local woman who was abused by a priest as a child and later as an adult.

Last night, ABC TV's Australian Story program covered the second half of Beth Heinrich's story on her relationship with the now defrocked bishop Donald Shearman.

The relationship began when she was 15.

Ms Heinrich, 65, said the then Reverend Shearman promised her a future together while having a sexual relationship with her.

"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 on a fox rug made from skins of foxes that he'd shot. He bought a record called I'm in the mood for love and used to like to play that," she said.

She also has shared the contents of hundreds of letters sent to her during their 40-year affair.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2005 07:10 AM