Cardinal George Pell ‘is being made a scapegoat for others’

The Australian

Rebecca Urban

Cardinal George Pell has launched a vociferous defence of his handling of sexual abuse allegations within the Catholic Church, insisting he was being made a “scapegoat” for others’ failings.

In a series of strongly worded submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Res­ponses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia’s most senior church ­official denies he had the knowledge or authority required to take ­direct action against priests ­accused of sexual abuse, including the notorious priests Gerard Ridsdale and Peter Searson.

Cardinal Pell dismisses the credibility of numerous witnesses and accuses counsel assisting the commission of overstating evidence, making gratuitous submissions and relying on surmise and conjecture.

“There is not a single aspect of that evidence which establishes that Father Pell acted inappropriately in any way,” said Sam Duggan, counsel acting on behalf of Cardinal Pell, in a submission ­released yesterday.

“Ultimately, when one assesses all of the evidence placed before the commission, including that of Cardinal Pell, the commission could not be ‘comfortably satisfied’ that any one of the alle­gations made against Cardinal Pell has been made out.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.