Sex Abuse Victim Unhappy with Apology

The Age
August 13, 2008

An apology from the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney to sexual abuse victim Anthony Jones is "window dressing" in the face of bad publicity, Mr Jones says.

The former Catholic educator was indecently assaulted by a priest, Terrence Goodall, in 1982.

He has accused Cardinal George Pell of being "deceitful" in his handling of the allegations that led to Goodall being convicted of indecent assault in 2005.

In 2003 Dr Pell wrote to Mr Jones saying the complaint was unsubstantiated and no one else had contacted the church with complaints about Goodall, but he has since admitted being mistaken when he wrote that letter.

At a press conference last month Dr Pell admitted he had wrongly characterised his personal dismissal of rape allegations as the finding of a church investigation.

On Tuesday Mr Jones received a one-page letter from Dr Pell offering an apology for his February 2003 letter and proposing a meeting between the two men.

"I am writing to you personally so that you know directly from me that the commitments I made publicly in relation to you in light of the information that came to my attention following my press conference on July 8, 2008, were genuine," Dr Pell wrote.

"At the press conference I was asked if I was prepared to apologise to you. I said then, and I wish to repeat to you directly, that I do apologise to you for my letter to you in February 2003, which was poorly drafted and, I regret, open to interpretation which I did not intend."

On Wednesday, Mr Jones said he would meet Dr Pell on his terms, but added that the contents of the letter did not mean "a great deal".

"The problem is the truth is still not being told," he told AAP.

"Cardinal Pell is being deceitful, dishonest and protecting the church and this is nothing but window dressing because they have come under so much pressure over this."

Mr Jones said past offers from Dr Pell for the pair to meet had come with the condition that the facts and details of the assault would not be discussed.

"Unless he's prepared to do that, to sit down and hear me and discuss the facts and debate the detail, then there's no point in meeting," he said.

"The facts are well and truly established, they have been well aired in the media."

Mr Jones said his lawyer would reply to Dr Pell's letter, outlining the grounds on which he was prepared to meet the cardinal.

Dr Pell will wait until he receives a response from Mr Jones to decide if he will make a public comment on the matter, a spokesman for the cardinal said.

In his letter to Mr Jones, Dr Pell said he had sought advice on Mr Jones' case from his advisory committee on professional standards.

"I have asked the committee to advise me on an appropriate formal response for you," the letter said.

"That committee has now had its first meeting and I am expecting their advice within a few weeks. I will communicate with you again as soon as I receive that advice."

Dr Pell also offered Mr Jones an opportunity to speak with Sydney Archdiocese Chancellor Father John Usher "if you feel that a conversation with him would be helpful".


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