Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
April 30, 2020
By Sarah Farnsworth
For years, questions have been asked about what Cardinal George Pell might have known about clerical abuse during his long career within the Catholic Church.
Giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney in 2014, and again via video link from Rome in 2016, Cardinal Pell was questioned at length about his knowledge of paedophile priests in both Ballarat and Melbourne.
The Cardinal was taken painstakingly through evidence and asked to cast his mind back to the 1970s and what he knew about paedophile priests including Gerald Ridsdale, who later admitted to abusing hundreds of children.
By the end of the exhaustive inquiry in 2017, the counsel assisting the royal commission submitted Cardinal Pell did come to know of abuse carried out by one notorious paedophile priest and had missed an opportunity to deal with another priest also suspected of molestation.
But the commissioners’ ultimate findings into what Pell may — or may not have — known has never been made public.
By the time the final report was published in December 2017, the Cardinal himself was facing child sexual abuse charges.
The findings into what were called case studies 28 (Ballarat) and 35 (Melbourne) were heavily redacted so as not to prejudice Cardinal Pell’s case.
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