Abuse victim feels vindicated after Catholic priest issues apology
A South African man who was sexually abused by a Catholic Church priest has finally received the apology he has sought for 27 years. On Thursday former catholic priest Father William MacCurtain issued an apology in which acknowledged the allegations of sexual abuse.
The allegations were made by Limpopo man William Segodisho at a press briefing. “I recognise that my behaviour towards Mr 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 Mr Segodisho, and would like to apologise to Mr Segodisho unreservedly” wrote the Britain based priest.
Earlier this week Segodisho detailed how he had been abused by the priest in the 1980s. The 46 year-old who was living in the streets of Johannesburg at the time detailed how the abuse took place between 1985 and 1989.
The priest had helped him get school and had bought him clothes before revealing his true intentions.
"Immediately after being taken to this school, I was invited to his church to celebrate my admittance to the school. He also told me that I was to sleep over," the Sowetan reported earlier this week.
"When we were in the room, instead of offering me orange juice he offered me a glass of whiskey."
"I eventually got drunk and he started to tell me everything he has done for me. The clothing, the pocket money and the school. All I had to do was give him a bit of pleasure," he said.
Segodisho said he had to touch the priest intimately to show his gratitude. He said it started with touching then went on to kissing.
"He made it known that I must never tell anyone about this. He told me I would lose my place in the shelter and not go to school. He knew I had a hunger to get an education," said Segodisho.
Responding to the preacher’s apology he released an emotionally charged statement saying he was happy to have been vindicated. “For 27 long years I have yearned and begged and cried for just these the three words from Fr. Bill, ‘I am sorry’
“I welcome that finally,my truth has been acknowledged and it is now officially affirmed that I am not the liar I was made out to be for almost three decades,” Segodisho wrote.
He said that he is still hurting over the constant refusal to acknowledge his story by the priest and the church over the years.
“The deliberate absence of the acknowledgement of my pain and this apology, has damaged me beyond recovery. I shall take it to my grave. His apology, late as it comes, gives me the peace my soul has been crying out for all along,” the former student activist said.
“I will need time to digest it and determine whether to accept it, forgive the man and march on to live what little is left of my life in peace and harmony,” he said of whether he will be able to forgive the priest who is now in an elderly care centre.
The 84 year-old priest faces extradition as Segodisho has opened a case of sexual assault with the police. The priest did not comment on the possibility of being extradited.