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Australia: lawyer counters Cardinal Pell’s claim on abuse suit

March 18, 2014

In testimony before a royal commission investigating sex-abuse complaints, a lawyer who represented Cardinal George Pell contradicted the prelate’s claim that he had not been involved in legal strategy in a famous case.

John Ellis, who had brought suit the Catholic Church for damages in connection with sexual abuse, lost his case when Australian courts ruled that the Church could not be sued. Cardinal Pell later met with Ellis and told him that he had not been involved in the decision to wage a protracted legal battle.

However Paul McCann, a lawyer who was representing the Sydney archdiocese, told the royal commission that he was confident Cardinal Pell had been directing the legal strategy. McCann said that he had met with the cardinal’s secretary to plant he case, but was convinced the secretary was relaying the cardinal’s instructions.

Ellis had reportedly indicated that he was willing to settle his legal case for $100,000. Cardinal Pell has said that he was never informed of that offer. The archdiocese eventually spent $1.5 million on the legal battle.


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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Mar. 18, 2014 8:57 PM ET USA

    It's hard to know what is more painful here, the Cardinal's disingenuous recounting of the legal battle, or the blunder that ended up costing Australian Catholics $1.4 million. Is there nothing that will tear this rot out of the Church once for all?