Naming and Shaming?

Is it right to name and shame an alleged abuser in the media? An interesting question that provokes heated argument. South Australian senator Nick Xenophon used parliamentary privilege to accuse a Catholic priest of rape. Was this right or foolhardy? Adelaide Catholic priest Ian Dempsey said it was "totally unfair and unjust" of the independent South Australian senator to use parliamentary privilege to accuse him of raping John Hepworth, now a leading Anglican churchman, more than 40 years ago. He denies the alleagtions. Senator Xenophon said he had acted in good faith and without malice in naming Monsignor Dempsey under parliamentary privilege, but said: "I regret the course of events went down this path". He said the matter might have played out differently had he known Monsignor Dempsey was about to go on one month's annual leave. "It would have given an opportunity for there to be a satisfactory outcome without the need to name the priest in question," he told reporters in delaide. "I find it bewildering and extraordinary that no one in the Catholic Church decided to advise me the priest in question was about to gove on leave."

Senator Xenophon said he named Monsignor empsey because the hurch had taken too long to address the rape allegations against him that emerged four years ago. The Adelaide Catholic Church has said it was not being tardy because Archbishop Hepworth had only this year decided to proceed with his claim. According to Australian media Archbishop Hepworth said he was the victim of violent rapes by two priests and a trainee priest, beginning in 1960, when he was 15. At the time Archbishop Hepworth, who is now the primate of the splinter group raditional Anglican Communion in Adelaide, was studying to be a priest at a seminary. Archbishop Hepworth has said he broke away from the Catholic Church because of the 12 years of abuse. This story clearly has some way to go. There is further coverage in For more on this article, or if you wish to discuss in confidence any claim you might have please contact me Alan Collins or my colleague Charles Derham 0044 (0) 2392 492472


Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

She is also a member of Verisona Law’s Historic Abuse Team and undertakes documentary analysis, work relating to case evidence and the development of legal arguments to secure successful settlements. She is fluent in German and Persian.

Lisa also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law.

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Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

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