Cardinal Pell Refers Abuse Complaint

West Australian
July 10, 2008

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has referred rape allegations against a former priest to an independent panel, including retired NSW Supreme Court Judge Bill Priestly.

Cardinal Pell has re-opened investigations into Father Terrence Goodall after phone taps recorded the convicted priest saying a sexual encounter with his adult victim Anthony Jones was not consensual, as he first claimed.

In 2003, Cardinal George Pell dismissed a sex abuse complaint against Father Goodall, because he gave weight to the priest's claim the encounter was consensual.

Cardinal Pell dismissed Anthony Jones' complaint despite Mr Jones' protestations to the contrary.

However, in 2003 police phone transcripts - played on ABC Television on Wednesday night, Father Goodall admitted to Mr Jones that the encounter was not consensual.

Mr Jones, now 54, was sexually abused by Father Goodall in 1982 and informed the church about it 20 years later.

In 2005, Father Goodall was convicted of indecently assaulting Mr Jones after pleading guilty to the charges, but served no time in prison.

Dr Pell has now referred the rape allegations to an independent panel, the church said.

"Although the complaints of Mr Anthony Jones have been dealt with by the Church, the criminal court and the civil court, out of consideration for Mr Jones, Cardinal George Pell has formally referred the matters raised this week to an independent consultative panel established under Towards Healing protocols," it said in a statement.

"The panel, which is chaired by retired NSW Supreme Court judge Bill Priestley QC, has been asked to advise Cardinal Pell on the options open to him.

"It consists of prominent lay people from the fields of law, business, and psychiatry, as well as a senior priest."

The panel would report back as soon as possible, the church said.

Cardinal Pell has become embroiled in the Goodall sex abuse scandal 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 Mr Jones that his complaint could not be upheld because the church was not aware of any other complaints against the priest.

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

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

Cardinal Pell earlier this week said he got his decision wrong and had expressed himself poorly in the letter to Mr Jones.

Mr Jones' lawyer Peter Karp was critical of the panel investigation, saying it was just "another in-house look at Tony's matters".

"It's already been looked at before - it's very clear what the evidence is all about," he told ABC's Lateline program.

"I don't think that it is going to be acceptable."

Mr Karp said the abuse case against Father Goodall had been going for too long, and his client wanted "resolution now".

"If we just go back to where he was at the start before those letters were sent, what he wanted then (was) just a small amount of compensation, a letter of apology, acknowledgment of the wrong that's done to him," he said.


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