Reverend June Dolley-Major welcomes Anglican Church alleged rape investigation
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Cape Town – Reverend June Dolley-Major has welcomed a report by the Board of Preliminary Enquiry (BPE) appointed by the Anglican Church of South Africa (Acsa) to investigate the alleged rape by a fellow reverend, finding there is a case to answer.
Acsa said the case will be heard by a Diocesan Tribunal in public sessions as set out in Church law around mid-May 2021.
In July last year, Dolley-Major and a number of supporters led protests outside Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s home in protest at the church’s handling of her rape allegations.
After a “tiresome journey”, Dolley-Major said she will go through the process of the hearing to pave the way for other victims.
“It's nearly a year since we actually reached a point where there is going to be a tribunal. Also, I have seen the statement of my rapist, as well as three other statements, as well as the statements of the person in whose house I was raped.
’’All have lied. So how safe is my Safer Church process? I honestly do not know. I will go through the process to see how victim-centred the process is and to pave the way for other victims,” she said.
Acsa said as soon as the tribunal date has been confirmed, they will publish its date and venue and an option to join the tribunal virtually will also be made available.
“The archbishop has appointed as president of the tribunal one of the retired bishops of the church, Bishop Emeritus Peter Lee. At the end of the hearings the tribunal will issue a judgment within 21 days. The judgment may be the subject of a further appeal.
’’By choosing to pursue the case under church law (canons) this does not prevent either (both parties) from pursuing this matter in the criminal courts in the future, if they wish to do so,” said Acsa.
Dolley-Major said: “In his report the Bishop for the BPE has asked for an inquiry for the middle of May. I emailed Bishop Joshua Louw and Safer Churches to say my rapist has taken me to court for a gag and a cost order and I have to be back in court on May 24.
’’I have requested a date to be after May 24 as I cannot be dealing with two things at the same time. I need to prepare for the high court as I do not have an advocate. So I need to prepare myself for the opposing affidavit.
“I will go to the the tribunal because that is what I agreed to. I will not go in with representation because the person needs to be learned in law and an Anglican if he/she represents me.
“I chose not to search for someone learned in law who is also an Anglican because it is not so easy, even though I could possibly find an Anglican learned in law.
’’I chose not to because maybe as a known activist, someone would assist me, but what about other victims who do not have the means to find someone? I’m going through this process to see how everyone else experiences it and whether it is victim-centred,“ she said.