Roman Catholic cleric has denied trying to cover up a
sexual abuse case involving clergy, attempting Tuesday to
fight off an embarrassing scandal just days before
Pope Benedict XVI arrives for a visit.
Pell, the archbishop of Sydney, was responding to an
Australian Broadcasting Corp. television report Monday that
said he had given misleading information to a man who
accused a priest of sexually assaulting him more than
25 years ago.
accused Father Terrence Goodall of abusing him in 1982,
when Jones was a 28-year-old religious education coordinator
in Sydney. Jones reported his claims to the church in
2003 and the church investigated.
investigation found ''homosexual misbehavior'' between
Goodall and Jones and recommended that Jones's
allegations ''be sustained without qualification,''
But Pell did not
follow the investigator's recommendation, and even wrote
to Jones telling him that the investigator had not been able
to prove the complaint of ''attempted aggravated
Pell said Tuesday
that while his letter to Jones may have been ''badly
worded,'' he stood by his findings that no rape had
occurred. He said he based his conclusion on Jones's
age at the time and Goodall's insistence that the act
had been consensual.
''I accepted all
these findings [of the internal investigation],
including the homosexual behavior, but I found evidence of
rape insufficient,'' he said.
He said the
courts backed his viewpoint when Goodall was convicted in
2005 of indecent assault on Jones but not rape.
ABC reported that
a second man, who has not been identified, also claimed
to have been abused by Goodall. ABC said another letter from
Pell, signed the same day as the one to Jones,
informed the second man that his abuse claim against
Goodall had been substantiated.
''I had no
intention to deceive,'' said Pell, who noted that the church
had taken the proper action against Goodall based on the two
''There was no
cover-up. The accusations against Father Goodall were
investigated both by the church and the police and Father
Goodall was stood down,'' he said. ''Church
authorities fully cooperated at every stage.''
said civil claims by Jones were resolved ''by mutual
consent'' in the supreme court two weeks ago. He did not
misrepresented the truth,'' Jones, now 54, told ABC. ''I
now hate Catholicism because of what Cardinal Pell has done
to me, more so than what Father Goodall did to me.''
He said Pell's
comments on Tuesday were misleading, as he had never
''I did not say
that he (Goodall) had penetrated me,'' Jones said. ''I
was worried he was going to, but he certainly sexually
Clergy sex abuse,
some of it dating back more than 50 years, has surfaced
in high-profile cases during the past few decades and has
become a public issue in the United States, Canada,
Ireland, Australia, and elsewhere.
scandal in Australia comes ahead of the arrival of the pope
-- and an expected 200,000 pilgrims -- in Sydney for
World Youth Day from July 15 through 20.
Pell said Monday
that the Pope was likely to apologize to victims of
sexual abuse during his visit to Australia, as he did
earlier this year in the United States.
for victims of church abuse in Australia, whose numbers
are not known but who activists say are in the thousands,
have demanded the pope make a full and open apology
for clergy abuse and do more to compensate victims and
prevent future abuse.
But Jones said he
would prefer that Pell resign.
point of an apology when the senior ranking titled cleric in
the Catholic church of Australia is still covering up sex
abuse?'' Jones said. (Tanalee Smith, AP)