Monsignor David Cappo
Adelaide Archdiocese Vicar General Monsignor David Cappo has resigned as chairman of the new commission overseeing mental health services, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Monsignor Cappo made the announcement Thurday. He rejected claims this week he failed to act on rape allegations against a priest, and said the controversy could affect the work he was tasked with.
"While I emphatically reject any suggestion that I or the Church handled the complaint by John Hepworth with anything other than proper and due diligence, this matter has the potential to distract from the important work of the newly formed Mental Health Commission," Monsignor Cappo said in a statement.
"I cannot allow that to occur."
The Sydney Morning Herald report said that the development follows claims by Senator Nick Xenophon that Monsignor Cappo had failed to act in the four years since Traditional Anglican Communion Archbishop John Hepworth informed him of his claim that he had been raped by another priest more than 40 years ago.
The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has strongly defended Monsignor Cappo, and denied the claims he failed to act.
Monsignor Cappo also quit as deputy chairman of the Australian Social Inclusion Board.
The Mental Health Minister, Mark Butler, said: ''I still believe that, given his background and expertise, Monsignor Cappo was the obvious choice to lead the Mental Health Commission.''
The South Australian Premier, Mike Rann, said the resignation was ''a real tragedy for ... Australians living with mental illness''.
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Cleric quits public roles over link to rape claim (Sydney Morning Herald/Telegraph)
Statement from Monsignor Cappo
Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide