Leaks add a bitter flavour to allegations against Cardinal Pell

The Australian

The Australian July 30, 2016

Wednesday night’s 7.30 program on ABC television carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell that, if true, are devastating: life-ruining for victims such as Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth-shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The ABC report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can all say it would have been better if onlookers such as Les Tyack in the Torquay Surf Club — claiming to have credible evidence of unseemly behaviour by an adult such as Pell towards children — went to the police promptly rather than waiting 30 years. As it was put on 7.30, “One summer day, (Tyack) says he witnessed a strange incident, so strange it later compelled him to go to police.” The incident is alleged to have occurred in the mid-1980s.

Pell has been the focus of attention during the long-running Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He was grilled publicly for days on end about what he knew about abuse committed by others when he was a priest in Ballarat and when he was auxiliary bishop in Melbourne.

The commission has been so focused on Pell that it decided to make the abuse by Peter Searson its primary focus when investigating abuse by Melbourne priests. This was not because Searson was the worst abuser but because he worked in the region of the archdiocese where Pell had supervision as auxiliary bishop.

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