Spotlight on abuse: Anglican priest Alan Sapsford

By | August 17, 2022
Anglican Watch: Fr. Alan Sapsford

In 2002, allegations emerged that Alan Sapsford, an Anglican priest in Australia, had sexually assaulted women and at least 30 altar boys at a parish in Seymour, north of Melbourne. He had served the parish for 30 years prior to his retirement in 1996.

A candidate for ordination complained to the church about being sexually abused by Sapsford, who subsequently admitted to the abuse.

In September 2002 Sapsford was arrested and charged with abuse. He died prior to the case going to trial.

Subsequently, it emerged that Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Keith Rayner had intervened following Sapsford’s retirement and moved him to Melbourne, and allowed him to serve a parish there. Thus, many suspect that there were additional victims. Police also investigated the possibility that previous complaints against the priest may have been ignored.

Said retired Anglican priest Dr. Paul Walliker:

“My gut reaction is there is at least 30 [victims]… but it could be any figure from there to a hundred.

“I’m sure there are a number of people who have committed suicide.

“It’s remarkable the number of suicides and unexpected deaths from a church in Seymour.

”The support we received from the diocese was zip, zero, zilch,”

Parents of victims complained about a lack of transparency from the church, adding that officials should have told them as soon as they learned of allegations about Sapsford. Some alleged that the church engaged in a cover-up.
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