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The sexual abuse scandal in thr Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne is part of the larger Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Australia.

Accusations against Archbishop Pell

In June 2002, Pell was accused of having sexually abused a 12-year-old boy at a Roman Catholic youth camp in 1961. At this time Pell was a seminarian. Pell "stood aside",[1] but did not resign, as archbishop as soon as the allegations were made public, some weeks after the Church became aware of them. Pell vehemently denied all the accusations. The complainant agreed to pursue his allegations through the church's own process for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, The National Committee for Professional Standards (NCPS). An independent investigation by a retired non-Catholic judge cleared him.[2]

Southwell inquiry

The Hon AJ Southwell, QC, a retired judge and an Anglican, was appointed a commissioner by the NCPS to conduct an inquiry into the allegations (see Southwell inquiry).

Gerald Ridsdale affair

As a consequence of the inquiry other allegations were publicly made that Pell, along with other church leaders, had sought to cover up past incidents of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by clergy.[citation needed] Critics[who?] noted that Pell had accompanied Father Gerald Ridsdale, convicted of sexual offences against a number of children, to court at the beginning of Ridsdale's trial in 1993. Pell, however, did not give evidence in support of Ridsdale or seek to protect him at the trial.[3] Ridsdale had been a priest in the Ballarat diocese in the early 1970s, on one occasion living in the same clergy house as Pell and several other priests. Pell has stated in more recent years that he felt accompanying Ridsdale was a mistake because of the potential for others to feel that his sympathies were with Ridsdale rather than his victims.[citation needed]

Individual cases

  • Michael Charles Glennon - sentenced to at least 15 years in jail for sexually abusing four Aboriginal boys between 1984 and 1991[4]
  • Wilfred James Baker - sentenced to four years in prison (parole after 2 years) for 16 counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency, involving eight boys, aged 10 to 13, over a 20-year period between 1960 and 1979.[5]
  • David Daniel - sentenced to six years jail, with parole after 4.5 years, for molesting four boys, a girl and an adult male. [6]
  • Rex Elmer - abuser sentenced in 1998 to five years jail (with parole after 3 years 4 months) for molesting 12 boys at St Vincent's orphanage in South Melbourne. [7]

Terence Goodall affair

On 7 July 2008, the ABC Lateline television program aired an interview with a Sydney man who, in 1982 at the age of 21, was twice indecently assaulted by Terence Goodall, a Roman Catholic priest.

See also


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