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Catholic priest sends apology from UK for sexually abusing William Segodisho

ENCA reports that the priest responsible for sexually abusing William Segodisho 30 years ago has apologised.

The priest, now based in the UK, sent him a written apology saying he deeply regrets the pain he caused and how he violated Segodisho’s trust.

According to News24, on Wednesday Segidisho told a media briefing that he was not getting any younger, and didn’t want to take the secret of his abuse to the grave.

Segidisho had moved to Johannesburg for political reasons, and found himself homeless until a woman referred him to a local shelter.

There he met the priest, who struck up a friendship with him which seemed to go well until the priest started molesting him on the way of boarding school.

One day the priest invited him over for a sleepover – and plied the young man with whisky.

“But it seemed there was a condition. All I had to do was just give him a bit of pleasure nothing serious… I just had to masturbate him… The masturbation took place and went on to the kissing, which I didn’t like at all…,” Segodisho said.

The priest told Segodisho if he told anyone, all his privileges would be removed. The abuse continued, and eventually another priest molested him too.

According to The Citizen Segodisho complained to the priest who first abused him about the second, and the second was transferred to England in 1989.

Father Damian Howard of The Society of Jesus acknowledged that the case had been lodged with the church in 2001.

My Take

This is how the Catholic abuse scandals on a global level worked – a priest would abuse children, complaints would arise, and in order to provide the illusion of action, the priest would be transferred somewhere else.

Threats and oaths of silence were common, and in a lot of cases where this abuse happened it was on a high level.

According to The Guardian Cardinal George Pell is facing charges of sexually abusing children in Australia.

Vox reports that the Pope has been accused of covering up abuse by Carlo Maria Viganò, a former papal nuncio.

Apparently the Pope and his predecessor knew about decades worth of abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, DC.

Francis had apparently taken part in a campaign to keep McCarrick in active ministry.

According to another report in the Guardian, about 1,670 clerics in Germany have been implicated in decades of child abuse.

All of this without even getting into Irish abuse scandals, which include an order of nuns that dumped hundreds of babies’ bodies into a septic tank and the Ryan report into abuse at Catholic orphanages.

And according to the Irish Times, the church hasn’t exactly been forthcoming to investigators.

This abuse scandal has happened just about everywhere else. I can reports involving the church in Chile, South Korea, Canada, Argentina and Italy – the list just goes on.

The scandal here isn’t just the abuse, but the way the priest was simply shuffled off to the UK. How many other priests in South Africa were there? How many abusive priests are there?

This happened in countries with strong law enforcement that have secularised, thus reducing the Catholic Church’s influence, we are a highly religious society with weak law enforcement, particularly where abuse is concerned.

We have high numbers of vulnerable kids due to highly impoverished conditions.

If the Catholic Church has been doing this in the rest of the world, and we’ve found an example in South Africa, and it goes all the way to the top, how can we be sure this is the only case?

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