HomeDid u know?South Africa: A young man abused for 5 years by british priest speaks out
Speaking publicly today, 46-year-old William hopes to see the that Catholic Church recognizes his ordeal. He was born in a township in Polokwane, in northern South Africa. In 1985, at the age of 13, he lived in the streets of Johannesburg and landed in a shelter where he was quickly noticed, being a good student.
His alleged attacker has the same name as him. Father “Bill”, from Christ the King’s cathedral, runs the refuge. He takes William under his wing, buys him clothes, invites him to the restaurant and manages to enroll him in a private school. “Father Bill then invited me to church to celebrate my registration. He told me that I would sleep in his room. At the moment, I did not suspect anything. And then he gave me a glass of whiskey. I told him I came from a family ravaged by alcohol, but he insisted. I was quickly drunk. He began to list everything he had done for me. To thank him, I only had to give him a little pleasure.” The priest would have asked him to masturbate before kissing him, he says.
To keep his place at school, William must submit to the repeated requests of the priest. William is at his wit’s end. He goes home to Polokwane, determined to confide in his relatives. But the poverty of his family reminds him that he needs to be educated if he wants to get out of it. He resolves to return to Father Bill. “The second time he raped me in church, I did not say anything. He gave me money for my family and taught me how to drive. ”
Once father Bill left, the church and the shelter turn his back on him. He returns to the street, back in drugs, crime, is arrested for theft. The years go by. William goes to church several times because he absolutely wants us to hear his story. In 2001, he ends up being received. The parish promises to open an investigation and pays him 25,000 rand (nearly 3,000 euros at the time) for him to see a psychiatrist and follow a TV training.
In the United Kingdom, Father Bill is retired, but from the survey, there was never any question. Today, William is the father of seven children and has not touched drugs for ten years. He did not let go of his fight. In 2017, the South African Constitutional Court decided to end the prescription for rape. In February, William filed a complaint. His attacker, currently in a nursing home, would be too ill to be extradited.