THE ROYAL COMMISSION'S FINDINGS ABOUT CARDINAL GEORGE PELL'S KNOWLEDGE OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST CLERGY IN THE 1970s and 80s
* GERALD RIDSDALE
The commission found Cardinal Pell knew Ridsdale was moved between parishes because of abuse allegations.
While an assistant priest at Ballarat East in 1973, Cardinal Pell heard Ridsdale had taken groups of boys away on overnight camps.
The royal commission said by this time, child sexual abuse was on Cardinal Pell's radar in relation to both Ridsdale and Mildura priest John Day.
"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."
* BROTHER EDWARD DOWLAN
In line with Cardinal Pell's evidence, the royal commission said Cardinal Pell was told by one or two students and priests about Dowlan's sexual infractions with minors. Cardinal Pell raised the rumours with Ballarat's St Patrick's College chaplain who told him there were problems and the Christian Brothers were looking into it.
Cardinal Pell said, with hindsight, he should have done more.
The royal commission agreed with Timothy Green's evidence that Pell said "don't be ridiculous" and walked out when he told him in 1974 that Dowlan was touching boys.
Pell said he had not recollection of a conversation with Green and it did not happen.
* MILDURA PRIEST MONSIGNOR JOHN DAY
Cardinal Pell said between mid-1971 and 1972 (while an assistant priest in Swan Hill) he probably heard gossip that Day was accused of pedophile activity and it was a "great scandal". He agreed that because of this scandal, child sexual abuse was on his radar.
* BROTHER GERALD "LEO" FITZGERALD
In 1973, Cardinal Pell heard about students swimming naked with Fitzgerald and also heard talk about the Brother kissing some boys as they left school. He said it was common knowledge but he had no jurisdiction in any sense over the Christian Brothers.
The royal commission found it was not unreasonable for priests to believe it wasn't their place to raise Fitzgerald's conduct with the Christian Brothers.
PELL WAS NOT DECEIVED BY CATHOLIC CHURCH OFFICIALS
The commission rejected Cardinal Pell's evidence that he was deceived by Bishop Mulkearns and other Ballarat priests about allegations against Ridsdale and by the Melbourne Catholic Education Office about Fr Peter Searson.
The commissioners found Bishop Mulkearns did not lie to his advisers in 1982 about Ridsdale being removed from Mortlake parish and told them it was because of complaints he had sexually abused children.
The commissioners did not accept that as a Melbourne auxiliary bishop, Cardinal Pell was deceived by education officials about Searson. It found he should have urged Archbishop Frank Little to take action against Searson.
After Cardinal Pell became Melbourne archbishop in 1996, he removed Searson from Doveton parish.
Searson was never charged with child sexual abuse. He died in 2009.
PELL DID NOT ATTEMPT TO SILENCE A VICTIM
David Ridsdale testified that when he told Bishop Pell in 1993 he had been abused by his uncle Gerald Ridsdale, Pell said: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet." Cardinal Pell denied he said that.
The royal commission was not satisfied he said those words or tried to silence David Ridsdale.
PELL DID NOT REMARK THAT RIDSDALE WAS OFFENDING AGAIN
Former altar boy BWE said he overheard Fr Pell tell Fr Frank Madden before a funeral in Ballarat in 1983: "Ha, ha, I think Gerry's been rooting boys again." Cardinal Pell strongly denied the allegation.
The royal commission concluded the event as described by BWE was unlikely to have occurred.
Australian Associated Press
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