anglican priest sexual assault

Former Anglican priest says sexual relationship with parishioner was consensual

Nigel Packwood, a former Anglican priest in Manitoba who resigned in August 2016, has stated that a sexual relationship he had with a parishioner was consensual, according to CBC News. He has denied sexually assaulting the woman, after she sued Packwood and the Anglican Diocese of Brandon in September 2017.

In his statement of defence filed October 2017, Packwood claims the woman “was a willing adult participant to the sexual conduct between them”. The plaintiff claims that after beginning counselling sessions with Packwood in 2001, he began pressuring her to have sex with him. After repeatedly refusing his advances, she says that in 2003 she finally relented, and the misconduct continued until 2015. She alleges the relationship was “a sexually exploitative and abusive one in which her religious faith and her trust in him as a priest and counsellor had been grossly manipulated and betrayed by him to further his own selfish interests at her expense.”

Both the Diocese and Packwood have argued that Manitoba’s Limitation of Actions Act limits the time she had to file a lawsuit. However, the woman’s lawyer, Elizabeth Grace of Lerners Law Firm, has stated there is no time limitation to pursue allegations of sexual assault. After the Diocese offered to help pay counselling fees for the woman, Grace says her client has not received any funding for such assistance and that “it’s disappointing that an institution like the Anglican Church that prides itself on being compassionate and caring has provided so little support for one of its members. I’m hopeful that it will make some funded counselling available to my client.”

Read more at CBC News

Elizabeth Grace

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