Cardinal George Pell, The Catholic Church and Child Sex Abuse

Tigers of Old

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Jul 26, 2004
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Royal commission told Cardinal George Pell tried to buy victim's silence about abuse

Date: May 20, 2015 - 6:20PM

Jane Lee - Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

Bombshell claims against Cardinal George Pell comes from a victim of sexual abuse at the Ballarat Royal Commission.

Cardinal George Pell will be asked to make a statement to the royal commission into child sexual abuse over claims he tried to bribe a victim to stay silent about his abuse and ignored claims by another that a now-convicted sex offender was abusing children at a Ballarat school.

David Ridsdale was abused by his uncle, convicted sex offender and former priest Gerald Ridsdale, from when he was 11 years old.

Mr Ridsdale told the commission on Wednesday that he called then Father Pell to tell him about the abuse in February 1993. He chose to phone Father Pell because he had known him since birth and: "He was the only human being in the church whom I believed was still a friend and who I could trust."

He said Father Pell's tone became angry, and he started talking about the things he would need to buy for his growing family, such as a car.

He said Father Pell asked him: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet."

Mr Ridsdale said his response was: "F--- you George and everything you stand for."

After he hung up, Mr Ridsdale said he told his sisters about the phone conversation.

"I remember saying to both my sisters: 'the bastard just tried to bribe me'," Mr Ridsdale told the hearing.

"I have never stated that Pell offered me anything specific or tangible in our conversation, only that his attempts to direct the conversation down a particular path made me extremely suspicious of his motivations and what he was insinuating."

Cardinal Pell has repeatedly denied saying words to that effect. Justice Peter McClellan, chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, said the commission would investigate the claims.

Mr Ridsdale also revealed that one of his aunts told him that her husband, then a policeman, had helped move Gerald Ridsdale "quietly out of Edenhope" when they learned of child abuse allegations against him there. His uncle later denied any involvement in this, and said his wife was mentally unwell.

Justice McClellan invited Peter Gray, SC, for church witnesses, to cross-examine Mr Ridsdale on the claims.

Mr Gray said his clients' position was not to question witnesses "whose task is difficult enough as it is".

"There should be no misunderstanding merely because of the stance the church has otherwise taken when it comes to [such issues], they are factual matters that we must investigate and determine," Justice McClellan said.

Mr Gray said: "In the case of the telephone conversation about which Mr Ridsdale has given evidence, the commission is aware that the cardinal has publicly and repeatedly said that his recollection of that conversation is quite different.

"If and when the commission asks the cardinal to provide a statement, which we assume will happen, I expect that he will say the same thing."

The royal commission will also decide whether Cardinal Pell ignored another victim's claim that a now-convicted sex offender was abusing children at St Patrick's College in Ballarat.

Fairfax Media has reported that a student of St Patrick's College approached then Father Pell about the abuse by Brother Edward Dowlan in 1974. Father Pell replied "don't be ridiculous" and left the room.

Most of the victims before the royal commission have been abused by Brother Dowlan, who was sentenced in March over 34 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency for abusing young boys between 1971 and 1985.

The student, Timothy Green, now 53, recounted the story to the commission.

Cardinal Pell has said he does not recall the conversation.

While the commissioners did not usually make findings about whether someone was abused, Justice McClellan said Mr Green's claims were in a "wholly different category" because they dealt with the church's response to allegations of child abuse.

He expected that the commissioners would be asked to make findings about the claims.

Mr Gray declined to cross-examine Mr Green and said the cardinal would likely repeat his rejection of the claims.

When he was about 12, Mr Green said he saw Father Pell at the change rooms of the Eureka Swimming Pool. Father Pell, who was a member of St Patrick's college's alumni, also said mass there occasionally at the time.

While Father Pell would not have known his name, Mr Green believed he would have known he was a St Patrick's student, as he had once thanked him on behalf of the school at a function.

Father Pell greeted Mr Green and his friends as he started to change.

"I was saying something like 'we've got to do something about what's going on at St Pat's," he said.

"Father Pell said 'yes what do you mean?' I said Brother Dowlan is touching little boys. Father Pell said 'don't be ridiculous' and walked out," Mr Green said.

As Father Pell did not ask further questions before dismissing him, "his reaction gave me the impression that he knew about Brother Dowlan but couldn't or wouldn't do anything about it".

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/royal-commission-told-cardinal-george-pell-tried-to-buy-victims-silence-about-abuse-20150520-gh5r7t?eid=socialn%3Atwi-13omn1677-edtrl-other%3Annn-17%2F02%2F2014-edtrs_socialshare-all-nnn-nnn-vars-o&utm_campaign=trueAnthem&utm_content=555c4e8504d3013ada000001&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

If this is true he may as well have done the act himself and I hope he goes to jail.
No doubt there are good people who are Catholics but this child abuse by pedophile priests and the attempts to cover it up is pure evil.
What an absolute disgrace!
 

poppa x

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May 28, 2004
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I watched this exchange live on the A-Pac channel and the story above is somewhat incomplete.
The dude in charge of the Royal Commission made it clear to the Church that if they choose not to question the (victim) witness then the Commission will accept his evidence as being true. Meaning the Church cannot later dispute the claim.
Interesting times.
 

Baloo

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I'm starting to wonder how I managed 6 years in a catholic boys college without having any of the clergy take a special interest. It just seems rampant.
 

KnightersRevenge

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Baloo said:
I'm starting to wonder how I managed 6 years in a catholic boys college without having any of the clergy take a special interest. It just seems rampant.
Don't know mate. While I was never "violated", I was definitely inappropriately touched on the arse by my priest as were most of the primary age boys and some of the girls and then as an older teenager by my Christian Brother school principal. So rampant? That would certainly be my description.
 

Rosy

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Mar 27, 2003
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Tigers of Old said:
.......
If this is true he may as well have done the act himself and I hope he goes to jail.
No doubt there are good people who are Catholics but this child abuse by pedophile priests and the attempts to cover it up is pure evil.
What an absolute disgrace!
I try not to judge too much when I really wouldn't have a clue but I tend to believe the victim statements in this case. The bloke is scum imo. To think he was our No 1 Ticket Holder :vomit
 

Tigers of Old

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Rampant is the word.
I had a very good friend of mine recently admit to me his abuse from a Catholic Priest when he was at school which is currently going through the courts.
Both his brothers were also the subject of abuse from said priest. All of them have struggled with it throughout their lives and are only now making peace with themselves as this creep is going to finally get his comeuppance.

It's not breaking news but the RC is exposing this religion for what it is. A haven for pedophiles.
Yes I understand that there are very good Catholic people out there who should not be tarnished by the actions of others but if it was my chosen religion it would certainly be testing my faith at the very least. In fact I'd be renouncing it. These Priests have destroyed the lives of innocence children and disgrace everything that their religion supposedly stands for.
It's absolutely abhorrent to me.

'Forgive me Father for I have sinned..' :vomit
 

arlobill

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May 6, 2008
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one of my closest and dearest friends has an uncle who was a priest and currently in jail for his vicious sex crimes....believ me the vile hatred they have for pell and the damning things they have to say about PELL and what he did to protect his pedophile friends has convinced me he is without a doubt one of the evilest and vile australian alive today......anyone else who protected a pedophile would be locked away...why not pell
as my father says ...THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOES NOT REPRESENT GOD, it HIJACKED MY RELIGION...ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF A CHURCH TO HAVE FAITH
 

Rosy

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Mar 27, 2003
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I don 't get faith arlo. People credit god for miracles and cures etc and think he controls everything. Why would some be afforded special treatment while allowing such heinous crimes against others.
 

poppa x

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I see that Pell has released a statement to "correct the record".
The Church's legal team was told in clear language by the RC that the only chance they had to correct the record was to question the witnesses yesterday.
They chose not to.
The RC made it clear that the evidence if left unchallenged would be accepted as being true.

It's farcical if Pell thinks he can dismiss the RC's instructions re "the facts" and deal with it by releasing a public denial.
Yesterday was his chance and IMO the RC will find against him.
 

jb03

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Jan 28, 2004
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Tigers of Old said:
Rampant is the word.
I had a very good friend of mine recently admit to me his abuse from a Catholic Priest when he was at school which is currently going through the courts.
Both his brothers were also the subject of abuse from said priest. All of them have struggled with it throughout their lives and are only now making peace with themselves as this creep is going to finally get his comeuppance.

It's not breaking news but the RC is exposing this religion for what it is. A haven for pedophiles.
Yes I understand that there are very good Catholic people out there who should not be tarnished by the actions of others but if it was my chosen religion it would certainly be testing my faith at the very least. In fact I'd be renouncing it. These Priests have destroyed the lives of innocence children and disgrace everything that their religion supposedly stands for.
It's absolutely abhorrent to me.

'Forgive me Father for I have sinned..' :vomit
Ross Stevenson asked a good question yesterday. What is it about the Catholic Religion or system, that attracted so many paedophiles to begin with?
 

Rosy

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Mar 27, 2003
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Unreal. If they're not jailed they should at least be chemically castrated and turned into eunuchs.
 

Baloo

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rosy23 said:
Unreal. If they're not jailed they should at least be chemically castrated and turned into eunuchs.
Why chemically ? A bread knife would be more fitting.
 

Ian4

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this is the type of heinous thing that happens when priests are forced to take a vow of celibacy. its not natural human behaviour.
 

joegarra

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I'm not sure if you can blame celibacy. Why boys??? It is abominable behaviour, one of my old teachers from St Paul's in Altona North has just been found guilty. He was being hidden by his order in the US, I hope he goes to gaol!!
 

Azza

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Aug 30, 2007
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Ian4 said:
this is the type of heinous thing that happens when priests are forced to take a vow of celibacy. its not natural human behaviour.
There's a school of thought that priesthood didn't so much create pedophiles as attract them.