Pell to Meet Sex Assault Victim

ABC News
August 12, 2008

Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, has offered to meet a man whose sexual assault by a local priest renewed pressure on the church ahead of World Youth Day.

Cardinal Pell last month apologised for what he called a "poorly drafted" letter to Anthony Jones, in which he challenged the man's complaint against Father Terence Goodall, who was later convicted of the assault.

Cardinal Pell has sent an apology to Anthony Jones.

The Archbishop had said the claims could not be substantiated and there had been no other allegations of abuse by the priest.

But an internal church investigation had found Mr Jones's complaint to be proven and recommended action be taken.

The church's investigator had also upheld a complaint by an altar boy that Father Goodall had abused him.

Cardinal Pell signed a letter accepting the former altar boy's complaint on the same day he wrote to Mr Jones, who was 28 when he was sexually assaulted in 1982.

The Archbishop last month said he had not thought the altar boy's allegations of sex abuse were the same as Mr Jones' claims.

Mr Jones said Cardinal Pell's actions had destroyed his faith.

The former religious education teacher yesterday received another letter from Cardinal Pell, apologising for the wording of the previous letter and offering to provide a formal response from the church.

The Archbishop also offered to hold a meeting with Mr Jones, but the assault victim is not satisfied with the letter.

He says he will not accept any apology unless Cardinal Pell agrees to dicuss the facts of his case.

"Not unless we sit down face and to face and we iron out the facts unequivocally, man to man, eyeball to eyeball," he said.

"Until that's done and I get him to admit to the facts, as has been established, then an apology would have some meaning."

After days of revelations on ABC TV's Lateline program, Cardinal Pell last month referred the matter of the sexual assault to a hand-picked panel chaired by retired NSW Supreme Court judge Bill Preistley.

His decision came after Lateline revealed a recorded phone conversation in which Goodall apologised to Mr Jones and refuted any suggestion the sexual encounter was consensual.

The Pope apologised for a series of child sex abuse incidents by his Catholic clergy in Australia during World Youth Day.


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