Australian bishop says he was abused by bishop and senior clergyman

Bishop Greg Thompson has said that he was abused as a young man by senior clergy.Newcastle Diocese

An Australian Anglican bishop has spoken about being groomed by senior clergymen in the 1970s and sexually abused.

Bishop Greg Thompson made his own experiences public after the Diocese of Newcastle in New South Wales apologised publicly on Sunday for its "shameful" treatment of abuse survivors in the past.

Bishop Thompson addressed the meeting of the diocesan synod on Saturday, speaking on the issue of child abuse. According to ABC News, the synod heard a recorded interview with two priests, Rev Les Forester and Rev Bob Peattie, who spoke of their experience of being abused as children.

Forester said: "I was absolutely terrified, I can recall my whole body shaking and I can recall thinking if this doesn't end or I don't get out of here somehow, I'm going to die."

Peattie said the abuse had left him feeling worthless and depressed for much of his life.

"It sort of manifested itself in my lack of self esteem and continuous suicidal thoughts," he said. "If I'd had a gun I would have shot myself on numerous occasions, because I was just sick and tired of it."

He described the abuse as "pure evil".

However, Bishop Thompson waited until after the synod voted to apologise before speaking of his own experiences. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said: "I couldn't have spoken about the need for an apology if they'd known I was a survivor.

"I wouldn't have known if the response was for me or survivors. I didn't want it to be just about me or any one particular survivor."

The bishop said he had been an impressionable 19-year-old when the two men singled him out, made him feel special and used his strong faith and their shared religion as the cover to sexually abuse him.

Both men are now dead, but his allegations were revealed to New South Wales Police and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse earlier this year.