Cardinal Pell Denies Cover up over Sex Abuse Claims

The West Australian

July 8, 2008

The head of the Catholic Church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, has rejected claims he tried to cover up allegations of sexual abuse involving a Catholic priest.

Admitting the matter was cause for embarrassment as he prepared to welcome the Pope to Australia on Sunday, the Archbishop of Sydney today said he would not be standing down over the allegations aired on ABC television last night.

ABC’s Lateline said a 2003 letter from Dr Pell gave misleading information to Anthony Jones, who alleged Father Terrence Goodall abused him in 1984.

The letter from Dr Pell reportedly told Mr Jones his allegations had not been substantiated, and the church had not received any other complaints against Father Goodall.

Cardinal Pell

However, an internal church investigation had found the abuse claims were substantiated.

Another letter from Cardinal Pell, signed the same day, reportedly informed a second man his abuse claim against Father Goodall had been substantiated.

Dr Pell today said "the letter to Mr Jones was badly worded and a mistake".

But he said it was not a cover-up.

"There was no cover-up," he told reporters.

"The accusations against Father Goodall were investigated by the church and the police and Father Goodall was stood down.

"Church authorities fully cooperated at every stage."


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