The reinstatement of a priest who maintained a sexual relationship with a disabled woman for 14 years was appropriate "after a prolonged investigation", according to a Melbourne priest, reports Yahoo7.
The priest has returned to full duties at St Francis' Church in Melbourne after 16 months of "administrative leave" for the relationship he began with the woman when she was 22 years old.
Fr Pat Negry from the Blessed Sacrament Congregation says he believes the decision to return the priest to his position was appropriate "after a prolonged investigation".
Fairfax media reported on the weekend that the decision to reinstate the priest to full duties at St Francis' has outraged his victim and victims' groups.
His reinstatement comes after the church apologised to Jennifer Herrick, paid her $100,000 in compensation and acknowledged "the harm that can be caused to vulnerable people in such a case".
While the case falls outside the royal commission on child sex abuse because she was 22 when the sexual relationship began, her lawyer, Peter Karp, said: "The adult victims [of clergy abuse] are voiceless victims."
Psychologists say such relationships may be compared with those in which doctors have sex with vulnerable patients, while a professor of theology at the Australian Catholic University, Neil Ormerod, believes there may be hundreds of similar cases yet to emerge.
Priest reinstated after sexual relationship (Yahoo7)
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