THE ANGLICAN Bishop of Grafton said he was extremely saddened that the relationship which led to former Bishop Donald Shearman being defrocked was rekindled during Mr Shearman's time as the bishop of the diocese.
The Right Reverend Keith Slater commented after Beth Heinrich appeared on ABC TV's Australian Story on Monday night, detailing her relationship with Mr Shearman which began when she was just 15.
"The account of events that has been revealed through the Australian Story will be devastating for many people from the Diocese of Grafton," Bishop Slater said.
"Donald Shearman during his time as Bishop of Grafton diocese was greatly admired by many people within and beyond the church (and) many will have counted Donald Shearman as their friend as well as Bishop, priest and pastor.
"This revelation, now at such a public level, will bring untold degrees of disillusionment, anger and grief. I recognise and feel deeply for the many people who will feel this disclosure intensely."
However Bishop Slater also congratulated Ms Heinrich for her courage.
"I cannot make apologies for the promises he may have made, I can only say that I am profoundly sorry that this happened during his time as Bishop of the diocese of Grafton."