Pell urged to close order over abuses

Sydney Morning Herald, By Rory Callinan & Josephine Tovey, November 12

More than 70 per cent of the Brothers from the St John of God order are suspected child abusers and the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney should immediately shut it down, says a psychologist who was employed by the order to meet scores of victims.

Michelle Mulvihill, who dealt with more than 120 of the order’s child abuse victims during compensation negotiations, claims Cardinal George Pell was aware of a loan by the Catholic Church to the order, which was later used by the order to pay victims of abuse.

She also alleges the order has never properly supervised suspected paedophile Brothers and has hid documents relating to the abuse in places where police ”would never find them”.

Dr Mulvihill’s revelation came as the former prime minister Malcolm Fraser joined the independent MP Tony Windsor and the senator Nick Xenophon in calling for a national royal commission into sexual abuse by religious groups and other institutions, after claims by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox last week that the church was still covering up the crime.

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  • Pell calls for facts not fiction on abuse

    Sydney Morning Herald, November 13

    Australia’s most senior Catholic says the royal commission will help determine whether reports about child abuse in the church have been a “significant exaggeration”.

    “We think it’s an opportunity to help the victims. It’s an opportunity to clear the air, to separate fact from fiction,” Cardinal George Pell told reporters in Sydney.

    He said the church had been worked hard to uncover child abuse.

    “We are not interested in denying the extent of misdoing in the Catholic Church. We object to it being exaggerated,” Cardinal Pell said.

    “We object to being described as the only cab on the rank.

    […]

    He’s also denied the Catholic Church knowingly transferred priests suspected of child sex abuse to other parishes.


    …and claims that as Cardinal, he has moral authority…

    Delayed auto-play video at the link.

  • Catholic Church saves $62 million on sexual abuse claims

    The Age, By Chris Vedelago, Cameron Houston, December 6

    The Catholic Church avoided paying up to $62 million in compensation to sexual abuse victims by creating the controversial Melbourne Response program, which capped payments at $50,000 for each victim.

    Internal documents also show church leaders ordered written records about sex abuse be “kept to a minimum” to avoid losing lawsuits, and hired one of the country’s best spin doctors in a bid to prepare for the scandal in the early 1990s.

    The revelations come after a week of explosive hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse where former Melbourne archdiocese vicar-general Bishop Peter Connors referred to the church’s knowledge about paedophile priests preying on parishioners as “time bombs ticking away”.

    The testimony and records tendered to the royal commission also detail the church’s preoccupation with protecting its reputation and financial position ahead of a flood of sexual abuse compensation claims, lawsuits and counselling expenses.

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