Cardinal Pell Misled Abuse Victim: ABC

Sydney Morning Herald

July 7, 2008

Senior Catholic cleric George Pell allegedly misled a victim of sexual assault and sought to dismiss his complaint, according to documents obtained by ABC Television.

The allegation comes just days before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI - and an expected 200,000 pilgrims - in Sydney for World Youth Day.

According to Monday night's ABC Lateline Program, Cardinal Pell, the head of the Catholic Church in Australia, gave misleading information to a sexual abuse victim in 2003.

The victim, Anthony Jones, claimed to have been abused by Catholic priest Terrence Goodall 20 years earlier.

In a letter obtained by the ABC, Cardinal Pell told Mr Jones the allegation had not been substantiated because the church had not received any other complaints against Father Goodall.

"No other complaint of attempted sexual assault has been received against Father Goodall," the letter allegedly said.

But another letter from Cardinal Pell, signed the same day and obtained by the ABC, was sent to a second man who also claimed to have been abused by Father Goodall.

In the second letter, Cardinal Pell told the man his complaint had been substantiated.

Mr Jones accused Cardinal Pell of getting it wrong.

"Cardinal Pell misrepresented the truth," he told ABC Television.

"I now hate Catholicism because of what Cardinal Pell has done to me, more so than what Father Goodall did to me."

Father Goodall was later convicted of indecent assault, according to the ABC.

The ABC said Cardinal Pell had not responded to a request to appear on the Lateline program or make a comment.

Cardinal Pell said the Pope was likely to apologise to victims of sexual abuse during his visit to Australia. The Pope will be in Sydney from July 15-20.


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