Sunday, December 11, 2016

Priest laicised over relationship with parishioner

Relationship was inappropriateThe Church has laicised a priest for having a "long-term inappropriate sexual relationship" with a woman, in what is believed to be an Australian first. 

The Church has also publicly apologised to the female parishioner involved, Jennifer Herrick.

The apology is the culmination of a seven-year legal battle Ms Herrick has waged against the Church over the relationship she had with Fr Thomas Knowles over a 14-year-period.

Tomorrow, her civil damages claim against the Church will be formally settled in the NSW Supreme Court.

Ms Herrick was a shy, 19-year-old with hip dysplasia, which caused her to walk with an abnormal gait, when she first met Fr Knowles.

He cultivated a close relationship with her at the church, Our Lady of Dolours, in Chatswood. 

When she was 22, Fr Knowles instigated a sexual relationship with her.

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