Crash Cheats Priest's Sex Victims out of Justice

By Ilse Fredericks
Sunday Times [South Africa]
July 31, 2006

A PRIEST at the centre of a sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in South Africa has died in a car crash — on the eve of his trial for indecent assault.

Father James McCauley, arrested in March, was killed last weekend on his way home after dinner with three friends in Cape Town.

He was due to stand trial in September.

An investigation by the Sunday Times uncovered allegations that he sexually abused at least four young men over a period spanning 20 years.

McCauley, a Redemptorist, retired in 2003 after the newspaper revealed how the Catholic Church conducted its own investigation into a complaint that he sodomised a Sudanese refugee, Adam Okot. The church cleared McCauley.

McCauley was also involved in a "totally inappropriate sexual incident" with a then 19-year-old man, Alan Hodgson, in a parked car in Durban. The church admitted the incident to his parents.

This week Julian Comley, one of two men who made statements against McCauley to police, said: "The only thing I wanted to hear him say is, 'I did something wrong and I apologise' ," he said.

Okot said: "That chapter [of my life] is closed. I've moved on. He will have to face the Lord."

Father Sean Wales, Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists, said McCauley never got a chance to clear his name.


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