Cardinal George Pell Denies Sex Abuse Cover-Up

July 8, 2008

[with audio and video]

The head of the Catholic Church in Australia has fiercely denied claims of a sexual abuse cover-up.

Anthony Jones wrote to Cardinal George Pell in 2003 telling him Father Terrance Goodall abused him at the age of 29 in a Sydney presbytery

Cardinal Pell told Mr Jones his claims hadn't been substantiated, because there were no other complaints despite on the same day confirming similar allegations were made by another man.

The Sydney Archbishop says the letter was a mistake, given he had confirmed all allegations against Father Goodall - except rape.

He says he's apologised to Mr Jones for the oversight.

"The letter to Mr Jones was badly worded and a mistake," he conceded.

"I was attempting to inform him that there was no other allegation of rape. And I overstated my agreement with [Church Investigator, Howard] Murray, who found all other allegations sustained."

Cardinal Pell has admitted it's an embarrassment, given the Pope's visit in just a few days.


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