October 31, 2016
The child sex abuse royal commission has been told to reject evidence from Cardinal George Pell, the world’s third most senior Catholic, regarding a former priest.
In submissions by counsel assisting to case study 35 into the Melbourne Archdiocese, Gail Furness SC and Stephen Free submitted that the commission should reject Cardinal Pell’s evidence that he was intentionally deceived by the Catholic Education Office regarding former priest Peter Searson.
They submitted the CEO should have done much more to respond to the obvious threat posed by Searson, however there was no evidence any of the officer at any time intentionally concealed from the Archdiocese information that it received about Searson.
“Nor is there any evidence, or logical reason, despite the theory advanced by Cardinal Pell, that the CEO or any of its officers wished to keep Searson in Doveton and were resistant to any moves to the contrary,” they said.
“The matters known to Cardinal Pell on his own evidence … were sufficient that he ought reasonably to have concluded that more serious action needed to be taken in relation to Searson.”
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