No jus­tice for re­tired priest’s vic­tim

Se­godisho wants Je­suit tried for abuse of home­less boys

Sunday Times - - News Abuse - By GRAEME HOSKEN

Re­tired priest Wil­liam MacCur­tain will con­tinue to en­joy his re­tire­ment, fully funded by the Catholic church in Bri­tain, de­spite is­su­ing an apol­ogy this week af­ter a South African man re­vealed how he had been raped and sex­u­ally abused by the cler­gy­man in Johannesburg in the 1980s.

Wil­liam Se­godisho, who says he was re­peat­edly raped and sex­u­ally as­saulted by MacCur­tain be­tween 1985 and 1989, is con­vinced he was not the only one abused by MacCur­tain and wants the 84-year-old Je­suit priest to stand trial in South Africa and apol­o­gise to those who have not had the courage to speak out against him.

At the time of Se­godisho’s abuse, MacCur­tain was on sec­ond­ment in SA. He worked as a di­rec­tor of the Street­wise Chil­dren’s Shel­ter at the Christ the King Cathe­dral in Braam­fontein, Johannesburg.

The rapes and mo­lesta­tion al­legedly oc­curred here af­ter hours, where MacCur­tain al­legedly made Se­godisho and sev­eral other home­less boys live with him.

The abuse was re­ported to church of­fi­cials in 1989 and MacCur­tain was re­de­ployed. How­ever, he con­tin­ued to work in parishes in the UK un­til 2001, when he was with­drawn from min­is­ter­ing af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the church found Se­godisho’s claims to be “well-founded”.

The church re­ported the find­ings of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion to Dorset po­lice only last year — 27 years af­ter the com­plaint was laid.

As­sis­tant to the UK Je­suit Pro­vin­cial, Fa­ther Paul Ni­chol­son, in an e-mail to the Sun­day Times, said: “Such re­port­ing did not take place as a mat­ter of course at the time when we first re­ceived Se­godisho’s re­port, per­haps be­cause it was felt it was for the one

I want to know why sud­denly now? Why did he wait nearly 30 years be­fore he apol­o­gised? Was the church in ca­hoots with him to make this all go away Wil­liam Se­godisho Wil­liam MacCur­tain’s vic­tim

mak­ing the al­le­ga­tions to de­cide whether he or she wanted to re­port the mat­ter to the po­lice.”

Se­godisho, 46, said there was no way a per­son “who does this only abuses one child and then sud­denly stops. I was not his only ‘favourite’. There were other boys who he fan­cied, who he spoiled.”

Se­godisho said he needed time to di­gest the apol­ogy.

“I want to know why sud­denly now? Why did he wait nearly 30 years be­fore he apol­o­gised? Was the church in ca­hoots with him to make this all go away?”

This week an­other man who lived at the shel­ter as a boy told how MacCur­tain had phys­i­cally as­saulted him.

Vusi Dlomo and

Se­godisho were among a group of boys favoured by MacCur­tain. He took them to restau­rants, paid for pri­vate school­ing and took them on hol­i­day with him.

“MacCur­tain spoilt me. He bought me a bi­cy­cle,” Dlomo, 46, told Sun­day Times this week. “He never abused me sex­u­ally, but he would oc­ca­sion­ally punch me hard in the stom­ach. The first time I was punched was when I gave some boys who were liv­ing on the street some soap bars.” Dlomo works as a care­taker at a Catholic church in Dube Vil­lage, Soweto.

The Street­wise shel­ter’s for­mer life skills ad­viser, Stan­ley Dlamini, said he re­mem­bered MacCur­tain’s favourite chil­dren well.

“There were three in par­tic­u­lar who he al­ways spoilt. They were given first-class treat­ment, which none of the other kids got. Every­one no­ticed, but no one knew why.”

MacCur­tain lives un­der su­per­vi­sion at the Cor­pus Christi Je­suit Com­mu­nity re­tire­ment home in Boscombe in south­ern Eng­land. Fa­ther An­thony Egan, spokesper­son of Je­suit Or­der in SA, said there would be no ques­tion of deny­ing MacCur­tain his re­tire­ment rights and med­i­cal ben­e­fits.

“No one should be cast out and left to die,” he said. He said ba­sic hu­man rights “which are rooted in our own the­o­log­i­cal tra­di­tion, recog­nise ev­ery per­son is formed in the unique im­age of God, and every­one, re­gard­less of how wicked they may or may not be, has the right to wel­fare”.

De­pend­ing on the sever­ity of a crime and his age, a priest may be dis­missed from the or­der. “If young enough and they can find work they will be forced to leave. It all comes down to whether he can fend for him­self.”

Egan said the claims by Dlomo were news to them. “We have never heard of these al­le­ga­tions, but if it is claimed, it is some­thing that will have to be in­ves­ti­gated.”

In his apol­ogy, MacCur­tain says: “I recog­nise that my be­hav­iour to­wards Se­godisho in the 1980s vi­o­lated the trust he had put in me as a Catholic priest.

“I deeply re­gret the pain that I have caused Se­godisho, and would wish to apol­o­gise to him un­re­servedly. I re­alise, though, that such an apol­ogy can­not right the wrongs done to him at that time …”

At­tempts to reach MacCur­tain for com­ment failed. Peter Saun­ders, founder of the UK’s Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Peo­ple Abused in Child­hood, who was abused by Je­suits at a parish in 1980 when MacCur­tain min­is­tered there, said: “The church closes ranks around their brother­hood.

“The pro­tec­tion and the church al­low­ing these preda­tors to live out their lives in com­fort is dis­gust­ing. Just like Nazi war crim­i­nals are hunted down, these sex­ual preda­tors must be brought to jus­tice.”

Pic­ture: Thapelo More­budi

Wil­liam Se­godisho, right, tells of the hor­ri­fy­ing agony that he had to en­dure at the hands of a Catholic priest, Wil­liam MacCur­tain, left, who was based in Johannesburg from 1985 to 1989.

Vusi Dlomo claims MacCur­tain phys­i­cally as­saulted him

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