Nimbin Church Sex Abuse Victim

By Tonia Moorton and AAP
Northern Star
July 12, 2008

A NORTHERN Rivers man, who was abused by a Catholic priest, does not see how an apology from Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, would help if the senior-ranking titled cleric was still covering up sex abuse.

Anthony Jones, 54, who lives near Nimbin, is living on a disability pension and said an apology would be meaningless. He has called for Cardinal Pell's resignation, as has Greens senator Christine Milne.

Mr Jones, who was sexually %assaulted in 1982 by a priest, Father Terence Goodall, says he was threatened with legal action if he spoke out.

THREATENED: Anthony Jones, on his property near Nimbin, says he was threatened with legal action if he spoke out about sexual a

"On Monday night I was threatened by Pell's lawyers that if the matter was aired on Lateline they may prosecute me for contempt of court," Mr Jones said.

"Again on Wednesday evening Goodall's lawyers also threatened to sue me and to prosecute me for being in contempt of court if the program revealing the police telephone intercept of Goodall was televised on Lateline."

The leader of the Catholic Church in Australia has denied trying to cover up allegations of sex abuse against Fr Goodall, just days before Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit for World Youth Day.

Cardinal Pell acknowledged the latest scandal was an embarrassment ahead of the Pope's visit, during which the Pontiff is expected to apologise to victims of predatory priests.

But Cardinal Pell defended his actions over sex abuse allegations against Fr Goodall, which he said had been investigated by the church and police and had resulted in the priest being stood down.

"There was no attempt at a cover-up," he said.

"Both sets of allegations against Fr Goodall were carried to their conclusions."

Cardinal Pell had dismissed the complaint against Fr Goodall in 2003 after giving weight to the priest's claim the encounter was consensual.

Mr Jones, who was 29 at the time of the incident, claimed otherwise, and in police wire tap evidence given to church investigators three years ago, Fr Goodall admits to forcing himself on Mr Jones.

Cardinal Pell said he had no knowledge of the taped conversations and has referred the allegations against the former priest to an independent panel, to be chaired by retired NSW Supreme Court judge Bill Priestley QC, which will advise him on Mr Jones' complaint. The panel would report back as soon as possible.

Mr Jones said he had little faith the panel would be independent.

"I am very sceptical about yet another church inquiry. The documents as presented on the ABC Lateline program have already vindicated me and have shown a church cover-up," he said.

Mr Jones' lawyer Peter Karp said 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, acknowledgement of the wrong that's done to him," he said.

Cardinal Pell said he would not step aside, adding he hoped the case would be resolved by the time the Pope arrived in Sydney tomorrow.


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