A WOMAN has accused former governor-general Peter Hollingworth of “basically” telling her to get lost when she went to him with a sexual-abuse claim against a priest.
Beth Heinrich said she was a boarder at the Anglican hostel at Forbes in western NSW during the 1950s, run by then Bishop Donald Shearman, when he started having sex with her.
Just before his appointment as governor-general, Ms Heinrich approached Archbishop Hollingworth for assistance when she realised she had been sexually abused.
She claimed he fobbed her off, ABC TV’s Australian Story revealed last night.
Now in her 60s, Ms Heinrich told the program that, when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Bishop Shearman would make her lie naked on his bed with him.
Four decades later, Ms Heinrich wrote to Archbishop Hollingworth but he said he had a pressing engagement and could not meet with her.
“Here was one of his bishops out of line, big-time, and Hollingworth had something more important to do,” she said.
“It was astounding.”
Five years later, in January 2000, Ms Heinrich again contacted the Brisbane diocese asking for a hearing.
“The church gave me the runaround again and Archbishop Hollingworth wrote to me and said that Donald Shearman was in his 70s and had exercised contrition and basically told me to get lost,” she said.
Beth Heindrich, as a teenager in the 1950s at the Forbes Anglican Hostel.
She wrote to outgoing governor-general Sir William Deane, the Anglican Primate and many other bishops to tell her story.
Dr Hollingworth was unavailable for comment. AAP
Bishop Donald Shearman, who ran the Anglican Hostel at Forbes.