Pell "Gave Weight" to Priest's Version

Perth Now

July 08, 2008,21598,23992082-5005361,00.html

CARDINAL George Pell dismissed a sex abuse complaint against a priest because he gave weight to his claim the encounter was consensual, fresh documents show.

Cardinal Pell, the head of the Catholic Church in Australia, has become embroiled in the sex abuse claim just days before Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the country for World Youth Day.

Letters obtained by the ABC and aired on Monday showed Cardinal Pell told Anthony Jones, who had complained of being sexually assaulted by Father Terrence Goodall, that his complaint could not be upheld because the church was not aware of any other complaints.

But another letter shows Cardinal Pell was aware of a second allegation of sexual abuse against Father Goodall.

Cardinal Pell yesterday said he had got it wrong and expressed himself poorly.

Tonight, the ABC revealed another letter which showed why Cardinal Pell dismissed Mr Jones' complaint: because he gave weight to Father Goodall's side of the story.

"What cannot be determined by me however is whether it was a matter of sexual assault as you state or homosexual behaviour between two consenting adults as maintained by Father Goodall," said the letter, written by Cardinal Pell to Mr Jones in 2003.

"In the end it is a matter of your word against his."

Mr Jones maintained the encounter was not consensual.

Father Goodall was later convicted of indecent assault.

The ABC also revealed an internal church report which found Father Goodall had had sexual encounters with a 16-year-old female, as well as Mr Jones and the other young male complainant.

Father Goodall admitted to asking altar boys to swim nude, and to propositioning young men, the report found.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.