Cardinal Pell failed to act on paedophile behaviour, Royal Commission says

Church Times (independent lay Anglican newspaper)

May 11, 2020

By Muriel Porter

CARDINAL George Pell had known of clergy paedophile activity at least as early as 1982 and possibly earlier, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse said in findings released this week. The findings concerning Cardinal Pell, who was last month acquitted of charges of child sexual abuse by the Australian High Court (News, 9 April), had been redacted until Pell’s court processes had run their course.

The findings relate to Cardinal Pell’s conduct as priest in the Victorian diocese of Ballarat, where numerous cases of paedophile activity by Roman Catholic clergy occurred in the 1970s and ’80s. The Commission rejected Cardinal Pell’s evidence that he had not been told that the paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was being moved from his parish because of child sexual-abuse complaints. The Commission said that it was “implausible” that the then Bishop of Ballarat did not tell Pell and others in a meeting the real reason for Ridsdale’s move. The failure of Pell and others to advise the Bishop in relation to Ridsdale was unacceptable, the Commission said.

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