"Abused Catholic Misled by Cardinal George Pell"

By Angus Hohenboken
The Australian

July 08, 2008,25197,23986175-601,00.html

THE head of the Catholic Church in Australia, George Pell, has been accused of misleading a man abused by a Sydney priest.

The accusation comes less than a week before Cardinal Pell is due to welcome the Pope to Australia for World Youth Day celebrations.

It was alleged last night that Cardinal Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, told Anthony Jones in 2003 that a complaint of sexual abuse against Father Terrence Goodall would not be upheld because the priest had not had other complaints made against him.

But the ABC Lateline program last night claimed Cardinal Pell had responded to another man's complaint against the priest on the same day he wrote to Mr Jones, saying the second man's complaint would be upheld.

Cardinal Pell said early today there had been no attempt at a cover-up.

"Father Terence Goodall's offences occurred more than 25 years ago. When they were reported on 6 June 2002, I commenced an investigation under the Towards Healing protocol," he said.

"The letter to Mr Jones was badly worded and a mistake - an attempt to inform him there was no other allegation of rape.

"However I signed both letters of February 2003 mentioned in the ABC's Lateline program, and any fault in the drafting was mine.

"In a subsequent letter soon after the February 2003 letter, I expressed my sorrow at what Mr Jones had suffered and offered to meet him. There was no attempt to mislead him. I apologise for the confusion caused to Mr Jones."

Mr Jones claimed Father Goodall fondled his genitals when they were swimming in a Cronulla pool in 1982.

The religious education co-ordinator, then 28, was allegedly indecently assaulted again by the priest when they returned to a presbytery.

Father Goodall was convicted of two counts of indecent assault against Mr Jones after admitting to the acts in January 2005.

It was reported that Mr Jones's initial complaint to the church, the day after the incident, was not followed up. But 20 years later, after he again complained, the church did investigate.

Cardinal Pell replied to Mr Jones on February 14, 2003, in a letter, saying an investigator, Howard Murray, had recommended the allegations of abuse "be found to be substantiated. However, as no other complaint of attempted sexual assault has been received against Father Goodall and he categorically denies the accusation, Mr Murray was of the opinion that the complaint of attempted aggravated sexual assault cannot be considered to have been substantiated."

Mr Jones took his allegations to the criminal and civil courts. Documents submitted as part of those hearings suggested that on the same day he sent the letter to Mr Jones, Cardinal Pell sent another letter to a former altar boy who had made similar claims against Father Goodall.


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