Royal Commission Report Found Cardinal George Pell Knew Children Were Being Sexually Abused
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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released 100 pages of previously redacted reports into Cardinal George Pell.
The document was prevented from being made public due to the potential for it to disrupt the criminal proceedings against the former high ranking Catholic Church member.
However, since Pell was acquitted last month, the Royal Commission has been allowed to make its findings available.
The report says Cardinal Pell was aware that children were being sexually abused within the Archdiocese of Ballarat. It added that it would be 'implausible' that other church members hadn't spoken to Pell about it.
Child sexual abuse victim David Ridsdale gave evidence at the Royal Commission in 2015 that his uncle, then-priest Gerald Ridsdale, was molesting him. He told the inquiry that George Pell tried to bribe him into staying quiet.
Pell repeatedly said he had no idea that Gerald Ridsdale was abusing children. The Commission ended up discovering that Ridsdale committed more than 130 offences against children between the 1960s and 1980s. He is now in prison.
The report states: "We are satisfied that in 1973 Father Pell turned his mind to the prudence of Ridsdale taking boys on overnight camps.
"The most likely reason for this, as Cardinal Pell acknowledged, was the possibility that if priests were one-on-one with a child then they could sexually abuse a child or at least provoke gossip about such a prospect.
"By this time, child sexual abuse was on his radar, in relation to not only Monsignor Day but also Ridsdale. We are also satisfied that by 1973 Cardinal Pell was not only conscious of child sexual abuse by clergy but that he also had considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it."
The inquiry was told that priests and clergy members who were accused of abusing children would be sent to other parishes.
Pell says he was deceived about how rampant child sexual abuse was in the Catholic Church.
However, the Royal Commission report said: "We are satisfied that Cardinal Pell's evidence as to the reasons that the CEO deceived him was implausible. We do not accept that Bishop Pell was deceived, intentionally or otherwise."
Last month, the High Court of Australia granted George Pell's appeal over his conviction for historical child sexual abuse.
Pell was found guilty in December 2018 on four counts of an indecent act with a child under 16, and on one count of sexual penetration.
The 78-year-old was accused of abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in the late 1990s.
However, after taking the matter to the country's highest court, Pell has had his convictions overturned.