Pell was not deceived about abuse: inquiry

The Islander

May 7, 2020

By Megan Neil
Cardinal George Pell knew pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was moved between parishes because of sex abuse allegations and failed to push for another’s removal, a royal commission concluded.

The child abuse royal commission findings surprised Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, who argues they are not supported by the evidence.

The commissioners rejected Cardinal Pell’s claim he was deceived in “a world of crimes and cover-ups” about Ridsdale, his 1973 Ballarat housemate who was later revealed to be Australia’s worst pedophile priest, and the unstable and disturbed Melbourne priest Peter Searson.

The commission found Cardinal Pell was aware of child sexual abuse by clergy in the early 1970s, after the former Vatican treasurer conceded it was “on his radar”.

“We are also satisfied that by 1973 Cardinal Pell was not only conscious of child sexual abuse by clergy but that he also had considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it,” the commissioners wrote in their unredacted report released on Thursday.

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