Cardinal Pell to give evidence in Victorian clergy child abuse inquiry

The Australian Times (UK)

By Paul Bleakley on 2 April, 2013

CATHOLIC Cardinal George Pell will appear before a Victorian inquiry into child sexual abuse within weeks, at a time when the church has proposed sweeping changes to its handling of complaints of abuse against members of the clergy.

Pell was a driving force behind the introduction of a controversial process for dealing with complaints of abuse in Victoria while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne during the 1990s. This practice involved the Catholic Church investigating alleged abuse in-house and encouraging victims to avoid going to the police with their claims.

It is expected that current Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart and a range of other church officials will give evidence to the inquiry. Spokesman for the Catholic Church Shane Mackinlay said that the Victorian inquiry had been given “unfettered” access to files detailing over 600 allegations of abuse that had been investigated by the Victorian wing of the church since Pell’s complaints process was introduced.

Mackinlay said: “The committee has indicated some interest in Cardinal Pell attending and he’s certainly willing to co-operate with that.”

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