Claims that Cardinal George Pell was present when a boy described being raped by a Christian Brother were “irresponsible, untrue and are absolutely denied”, the cardinal said yesterday afternoon.
The allegations by Melbourne lawyer Vivian Waller, who is acting for more than 70 victims of abuse by Christian Brothers, were widely reported yesterday.
Dr Waller said in a submission to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into how churches handled sex abuse that Brother Robert Best raped the boy at St Alipius school in Ballarat.
She said the boy went back to class distressed and was beaten by his teacher until he withdrew the claim.
Later, believing a priest could help him, the boy had asked to speak to the then Father Pell, who had refused to see him, but Father Pell had been present when the victim told another priest what happened, it is claimed.
According to the submission, a third priest, notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, then entered and offered to “deal with the situation”, which he did by again beating the victim.
Yesterday Cardinal Pell, now Archbishop of Sydney, said he had not been in Ballarat in 1969, which is when Dr Waller said the rape occurred, and was not appointed to that diocese until 1973. Unfortunately, the error had been repeated by media outlets across the country, he said in a statement from the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Indicating he would be happy to give evidence to the inquiry, he said he was never present when any allegations of rape were made by a victim against Brother Best.
“The truth will avoid further hurt to victims. Unsubstantiated allegations and personal and false smears are of no assistance to victims or to the inquiry.”
Cardinal Pell said he hoped parliamentary privilege enjoyed by those involved would not be “exploited with calumny”.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.