Former female priest to launch R6m lawsuit against church over rape cover-up

Former female priest to launch R6m lawsuit against church over rape cover-up

A former female priest of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa says she will pursue a civil case against the church for what she claims is a cover-up of her rape. 

Rev June Dolley Major rape gbv bishops court

Reverend June Dolley-Major alleges she was raped in 2002 at the Grahamstown Seminary by a fellow priest and accuses the clergy of doing nothing about the crime. 

She says since reporting the rape to the church, she had been rendered unemployed, homeless and hungry. 

Dolley-Major is suing for more than R6 million for loss of income after the church allegedly turned its back on her. 

“On Monday, God willing, at 10am we start that process with the Safer Church Commission. I decided to do it because I need to know how victim-centred that space is for other victims when they go through that process,” says Dolley-Major. 

“I am busy with a civil case. I’m suing for a loss of income. I have lost everything, literally every day is survival mode and I will be opening the rape case again in Grahamstown.” 

Rev June Dolley Major at the Bishops court with Archbishop Thabo Maokgoba
Rev June Dolley Major hunger strike outside Bishops court

Earlier this year she embarked on a hunger strike outside the home of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in Bishop’s Court in Cape Town, calling for the churches leadership to take her alleged rapist to task. 

Dolley-Major says she’s stunned church leaders can still hide behind the gospel. 

“If you go to the CCMA and you report anything that happens within the church as a priest, I was told that I’m employed by God and you cannot sue God. This is what these priests hold on to, that you cannot sue God. They feel that the law of the church is above the law of the land. 

“Toxic masculinity plays out all the time and you see these men have this power over you. For example, I was vilified by a senior clergy person and I can say his name because he did it on a public space and that is Reverend Barney Pityana. He has said that the church should just tell me to go to hell and that myself and my supporters are diabolical and satanic so the vilification is always there,” she explains.  

The Anglican Church could not be reached for comment. 

Listen to Rev June Dolley-Major below:

Good morning all. It is Monday, this day finally arrived, where I have to face the Safer Church Commission. I feel...

Posted by Justice for Rev. June Dolley Major and for All Victims/Survivors of Abuse on Sunday, 4 October 2020
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