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It is nothing but a travesty, says Dolley-Major after priest found not guilty of raping her

The Reverend June Dolley-Major. The judgment was delivered by the tribunal of the Diocese of Cape Town president Bishop Peter Lee on Thursday. Picture: Supplied

The Reverend June Dolley-Major. The judgment was delivered by the tribunal of the Diocese of Cape Town president Bishop Peter Lee on Thursday. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 1, 2021

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Cape Town - The Anglican Diocese of Cape Town has found the Reverend Melvin Booysen not guilty of sexual assault and rape of fellow Anglican Reverend June Dolley-Major.

The Diocese commenced its disciplinary tribunal hearings on June 28 into charges including sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual immorality against Booysen.

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The judgment was delivered by the tribunal of the Diocese of Cape Town president Bishop Peter Lee on Thursday.

“This Tribunal unanimously finds the Reverend Melvin Booysen not guilty of sexually assaulting June Major in Grahamstown in 2002. There is no evidence of the complainant laying allegations or informing her Bishop prior to 2016, and no corroboration of them. We do not find her account consistent with a series of circumstantial factors in the story,” said Bishop Lee.

“Booysen is not her rapist,” said Bishop Lee.

“The Tribunal finds Booysen guilty of breaching Resolution of Permanent Force 5 which governs ministerial conduct for clergy and lay leaders in this church, by apparently invading the complainant’s private space in their lodgings. Some therapy and retraining have been recommended to the Bishop.

“Mrs Major continues to represent herself as an active Anglican priest in good standing, which by her own choice she has not been since she resigned some years ago. We recommend that the Bishop of Table Bay clarifies the truth to the public.”

Bishop Lee said Major was not raped by Booysen, nor in the manner she claimed.

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“She made no such claim when she first broke her silence in 2016. Her claim remains uncorroborated by any of the seven persons who might have done so, and her account does not cohere with any of the five pieces of circumstantial evidence,” said Bishop Lee.

About the verdict, Dolley-Major said: “It is nothing but a travesty of justice and an abuse of process that the tribunal, led by retired Bishop Peter Lee, has fumbled and struggled to protect the church at all costs and in the process have found with baseless diffidence that my accusation of rape by the Reverend Melvin Booysen 19 years ago in Grahamstown was untrue.”

One Billion Rising South Africa coordinator Lucinda Evans said: “We noted the outcomes of the tribunal as One Billion Rising South Africa and we salute June Major for her bravery to name her alleged perpetrator and saw the tribunal to its ends.”

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Evans questioned why Booysen would need to be retrained, and said they had suspected the outcomes.

“Dolley-Major is an example of what women in South Africa will experience daily,” said Evans.

Dolley-Major is currently on a “pilgrimage” from Cape Town to Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) that started on September 20, with rape survivor and activist Celesthea Pierang.

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