George Pell fights for reputation as key evidence rejected

The Australian

November 1, 2016

Tessa Akerman

Pia Akerman

Rebecca Urban

Cardinal George Pell is facing the gravest threat to his besieged reputation after counsel assisting the child abuse royal commission rejected key evidence, accused him of failing to act on sexual misconduct complaints and more broadly excoriated the church’s capitulation to offenders.

Counsel assisting the royal commission yesterday criticised Cardinal Pell’s failure to deal ­adequately with offending in Melbourne and Ballarat, and called for key evidence from Cardinal Pell to be rejected. The explosive recommendations in nearly 1000 pages critiquing Cardinal Pell and the church will place growing pressure on the Vatican to deal with its third most senior figure.

They suggest Cardinal Pell faces heavy criticism in the royal commission’s final report, which will include multiple references to the Catholic Church’s systemic failures on abuse.

Cardinal Pell has rejected the key submissions of counsel assisting, arguing his position was being used to make an example of him when he had limited power, even though he has been auxiliary bishop or higher since 1987.

Victims, of whom there are hundreds and possibly thousands in Victoria alone, hailed the recommendations but warned that a national redress schemes needed to be set up urgently.

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