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Counsel urges Australian royal commission to reject Cardinal Pell’s claims of innocence

October 31, 2016

Lawyers for an Australian royal commission investigating the sex-abuse scandal have encouraged the commission to reject the testimony of Cardinal George Pell and accept the complaints against him.

The commission’s lawyers said that they do not believe Cardinal Pell’s testimony that he was not informed about sex-abuse complaints against priests who were under his jurisdiction. They argue that Cardinal Pell must have known about the misconduct of one notorious priest, Gerard Ridsdale, despite his denials. In another case, the lawyers say that the cardinal’s own testimony was sufficient to show that “he ough reasonably have concluded that more serious actions needed to be taken.”

Gail Furness, a counsel for the royal commission, also said that she was convinced by testimony from several witnesses who said that the future cardinal himself acted inappropriated toward children while he was serving as a priest in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cardinal Pell has consistently denied the accusations against him, and his representative responded angrily to the latest charges, saying that the cardinal is being made to serve as a scapegoat for the abuse problem. “There is not a single aspect of that evidence which establishes that Father Pell acted inappropriately in any way,” said Sam Duggan, the cardinal’s counsel. He said that the complaints against Cardinal Pell have been based exclusively on hearsay, speculation, and unsupported claims.

 
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