It's not just children who are abused and raped by Catholic priests, it's adults, too. Father Tom Knowles has been installed as a priest at St Francis' in Melbourne after just 16 months of "administrative leave." He sexually abused a disabled woman for 14 years and initiated the abuse with what can only be called a rape.
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Sometimes, the abuse of adults can be just as bad as the abuse of children, especially when it involves vulnerable adults whose trust is betrayed priests who abuse, molest, and rape. Unfortunately, it's not an issue that the Catholic Church seems to be taking very seriously.
They've had to pay $100,000 in compensation for Knowles' actions, but they're not shying away from putting him in a position where he can do such things again. A psychiatrist would lose their license for doing what Tom Knowles did. I guess the standards for Catholic priest aren't anywhere near that high.
Ms Herrick was a shy 19-year-old from NSW, who suffered from bilateral congenital hip dysplasia - which caused her to walk with an highly abnormal gait - when her family's priest, Tom Knowles, cultivated a relationship with her. Ms Herrick's later psychological reports say she was being groomed.
When Ms Herrick turned 22, Father Knowles, who was then 30, unexpectedly initiated intercourse with her, an act she describes as unpleasant and painful but one she felt powerless to stop due to his position. It was the first time Ms Herrick had ever had sex.
For the next 14 years, Father Knowles maintained a secret sexual relationship with Ms Herrick. "I now understand that my very severe vulnerability allowed him to exploit me by abusing his priestly powerful position for nearly two decades for his sexual needs,'' she said. ... Ms Herrick allowed Father Knowles - who as a Catholic priest is meant to be celibate - to have sex with her during a 14-year period and told no one about it.
In 2011, after she lodged a formal complaint, a confidential church investigation found his conduct to be highly inappropriate. Ms Herrick allowed Father Knowles to have sex with her during the 14-year period and told no one about it. She says the sex was often hurried, aggressive and sometimes painful. She withdrew from friends and family and grew increasingly anxious, ultimately having a breakdown and losing her career as a high school teacher.
But in December 2012, a senior NSW church official, Michael Salmon, advised Ms Herrick's lawyer in writing that Father Knowles had ''committed to a prolonged, regular and very intensive and personally confronting program of therapy'' and he would ''return to full community life, and to public ministry''.
Professor Ormerod, who has supported Ms Herrick, said that in reinstating Father Knowles the church sent a "signal to the victim that her situation wasn't serious" when in fact the abuse of trust by the priest had been extensive.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
An investigation conducted by the Catholic church itself has acknowledged that what Tom Knowles did was "highly in appropriate," though that strikes me as fairly weak language. I'm really not sure why they don't simply acknowledge that he groomed her for sex, raped her, then used his position to coerce her into years of sexual servitude. That would be more accurate, I think.