Church rape allegation unfolds in Diocesan tribunal hearing

Reverend June Dolley-Major standing outside a church, with her side-profile towards the camera. The church in the background behind her, with a statue of a cross also in frame. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

The tribunal by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Diocese of Cape Town into the alleged rape of Anglican church reverend June Dolley Major commenced on June 28. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Published Aug 11, 2021


Cape Town - Reverend June Dolley-Major and her alleged rapist were cross-examined on Tuesday at the Anglican Church Diocese of Cape Town Tribunal about her alleged rape nearly 20 years ago.

Dolley-Major recalled moments leading up to and after the incident at the Grahamstown Seminary 19 years ago by an Anglican priest during a three-day visit.

The tribunal reconvened yesterday for Day 5 of the tribunal hearing, which commenced on June 28.

Advocate for the accused Lynette Myburgh asked Dolley-Major why she had not pushed the accused off, due to his smaller size.

“I was trying to push him off and I eventually pushed him off before he ejaculated inside of me,” said Dolley-Major.

Myburgh questioned why Dolley-Major did not call out for help while staying at the home of a priest and his wife. Dolley-Major said she was unable to utter words and had gone completely numb at the time. Dolley-Major did, however, confide in another priest who had travelled with the pair.

Myburgh said: “And I want to put it to you that this never happened and it was simply a tool that you invented after you resigned to assist you in your civil claim against the Church, because you could not go and work in Australia like you wanted to.”

Dolley-Major said: “Is that what you tell a rape survivor? That's a blatant lie. You were not in that room.”

Dolley-Major said the accused had sexually violated or displayed inappropriate behaviour towards other women, with footage of a particular incident at St Dominic Anglican Church.

Due to her case being highly publicised, Dolley-Major said other women had reached out to her, implicating the accused in inappropriate behaviour.

The accused was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1998.

A disagreement had ensued between the pair over travelling costs for the trip, claimed the accused.

“I went to my room, thought about it and didn't want this argument to carry on into the next day while we were there. So I went to her room. I never went into her room, but stood in front of the door and said, ’Look, let's just forget about this. Let’s just pay the man, or rather I will pay the costs and we just settled it there and then.”’

The accused claims June Dolley-Major had lied about being raped, and said he only heard of the allegations when contacted by a journalist in 2016.