Quit Pressure Mounts on Cardinal George Pell

By Carly Crawford
Herald Sun

July 11, 2008,21985,24001345-661,00.html

CARDINAL George Pell is facing mounting pressure to resign over the latest sex abuse scandal engulfing the Catholic Church.

As sex abuse victims of Catholic clergy called for his scalp, the church boss won support from staunchly Catholic MP Tony Abbott.

Mr Abbott said Dr Pell should be commended for publicly admitting he had made a mistake in the way he responded to Anthony Jones's sex abuse claims.

Under pressure: Cardinal George Pell.

"Immediate action was taken against him and I think Cardinal Pell has a pretty good record when it comes to making sure that there is no misbehaviour on the part of the priests of the archdiocese in which he's been in charge," Mr Abbott said.

Dr Pell is considering re-opening an investigation into claims priest Terence Goodall abused Mr Jones in 1982.

Dr Pell dismissed Mr Jones's complaint in 2003, backing the priest's claim that the victim had consented.

A court later convicted Goodall of indecent assault and phone intercepts captured Goodall's apparent admission the sex was not consensual.

Sex abuse victims of notorious pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale are demanding Dr Pell's resignation -- and a formal apology from the Pope, who arrives in Australia on Sunday.

Dr Pell, the episcopal vicar for education in the Ballarat diocese for 11 years, lived with Ridsdale in Ballarat in 1973 when he took up the post.

Stephen Woods challenged Dr Pell to come clean about what he knew of the notorious Ballarat clergy pedophile ring that led to his abuse as a 14-year-old.

"It will be a cold day in hell when Pell opens up and talks about what he knew," he said.

Dr Pell has consistently denied any knowledge of Ridsdale's activity.

Ridsdale, 72, is serving at least 19 years' jail for raping and abusing 40 children aged six to 16 from 1961 to 1987.

Broken Rites president Chris MacIsaac said Dr Pell must re-open the Jones case.

She urged the Pope to apologise to sex abuse victims when he arrives in Australia.

"It's up to the Pope to show leadership to his bishops and say they'll work together on this," she said.

Dr Pell admitted he was wrong to have told Mr Jones there had been no other abuse complaints against Mr Goodall.

He conceded he should not have incorrectly claimed a church investigation had cleared Goodall of Mr Jones's allegations, using the finding to justify his own dismissal of the complaint.

Speaking from his home in Nimbin, Mr Jones told the Herald Sun Dr Pell should resign.

Sydney's Catholic Archdiocese did not respond to requests for comment.


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