Sunday 31 May 2015
George Pell has threatened legal action after a member of the Vatican’s commission for the protection of children accused him of “making a mockery” of child sexual abuse victims.
Peter Saunders, himself a victim of child sexual abuse, said Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cardinal, had an “almost sociopathic” disregard for victims of child sexual abuse through his repeated denial of any knowledge of abuse within the church.
But a statement issued on Pell’s behalf on Monday said: “The false and misleading claims made against His Eminence are outrageous. The cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers.”
Saunders had earlier told Channel Nine, “I personally think his position is untenable, because he has now a catalogue of denials, he has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, coldheartedness, [he is] almost sociopathic I would go so far as to say.
“He is making a mockery of the papal commission, of the pope himself, but most of all, of victims and survivors.”
As the head of the Vatican’s finances, Pell is one of the Pope’s most trusted advisors and is Australia’s most senior Catholic.
During hearings of Australia’s royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, held in the Victorian town of Ballarat last week, a victim of notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale accused Pell of bribing him to keep quiet about the abuse. The commission also heard Pell was involved in the decision to move Ridsdale between parishes when his abuses came to light.
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