Victim Urges Church to Rethink Celibate Clergy

ABC News
July 11, 2008

[with video and audio]

A man indecently assaulted by a priest says the Catholic Church should reconsider its position on enforced celibacy for the clergy.

Anthony Jones was indecently assaulted by Father Terence Goodall in 1982. Father Goodall was convicted of the assault in 2005 but served no prison time.

ABC TV's Lateline program has aired a series of revelations over the past few nights, outlining the way the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, dealt with Mr Jones' complaints.

In a letter to Mr Jones in 2003, Cardinal Pell said his claims of sexual assault could not be substantiated, going against the advice of church investigators who were looking into the matter.

Anthony Jones was indecently assaulted by a Catholic priest.

Video: Cardinal Pell announces assault enquiry (Lateline)

Audio: Calls for pope to apologise to priest sex assault victim (AM)

Map: Sydney 2000

Last night, the program revealed a recorded phone conversation in which Father Goodall refuted any suggestion that a sexual encounter between him and Mr Jones was consensual, throwing further doubt over Cardinal Pell's decision to dismiss the claims of sexual assault.

Cardinal Pell has formally referred the matter to an independent consultative panel, consisting of a senior priest as well as lay people from law, business and psychiatry.

The panel will be chaired by retired NSW Supreme Court judge Bill Priestley QC, and will advise Cardinal Pell on the options open to him.

But Mr Jones says he is not satisfied by that decision, and has urged the Church to rethink its policies.

"Celibacy is a big issue," he said.

"It wasn't a requirement in the early church, historically, and the matter of sexual abuse has been nothing less than an epidemic in churches, particularly the Catholic Church.

"I believe that things are going to have to radically change for this problem to be solved."

He says he wants to meet the Archbishop face-to-face.

"I would like him to admit that he now realises that it was not consensual, that I have been sexually abused on two occasions by Father Terrance Goodall," he said.

"I would also like Father Goodall's priestly faculties immediately removed from him. Even though he's been stood down, he is still a priest."

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