Thursday, 3 March 2016

Last day of the Cardinal's testimony

On the last day of hearings, speaking outside the hotel, survivors said they doubted Cardinal Pell was telling the truth.

"The royal commission at some stage in the future will give a recommendation on the evidence given by George.

"We feel George has not been honest nor truthful. George will have to live with this chosen course."

The survivors stopped short of calling for Cardinal Pell to resign.

"It never has been all about Pell," another survivor, Peter Blenkiron, said.

"We've watched the evidence that's been presented ... in all the other case studies by the other clergy. There's a pattern right across the board that denial is always around [the offences]."

Speaking outside the hotel after giving evidence, Cardinal Pell said he hoped the past four days had "contributed a bit to healing, to improving the situation" and that he would meet with some of the survivors tomorrow.

Cardinal Pell said it was a "disastrous coincidence" that four or five child sexual offenders ended up being placed in Ballarat East in the 1970s.

One of those men was Gerald Ridsdale. One of his victims was his nephew David Ridsdale, who was in Rome and whose lawyer spent time questioning Cardinal Pell on day four. The lawyer focused on David Ridsdale's claim Cardinal Pell tried to bribe him to remain silent.

The inquiry also revisited Cardinal Pell's "of no interest to me" line:

Q: You said on Tuesday, and I can take you to the transcript if necessary, that Father Ridsdale interfering with children at Inglewood was "A sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me". Do you remember saying that?
A: I remember messing up this sequence completely. I regret the choice of words. I was very confused, I responded poorly.
Speaking outside the hotel where Cardinal Pell gave evidence, survivors said they doubted he was telling the truth.

"The Ballarat survivors came to Rome to hear truth and honesty from George. We feel we have been deceived and lied to," survivor Philip Nagle said.

After the hearing ended, David Ridsdale told reporters, the "fight is far from over":

"We hear so much people say things like, 'it was a different time', or 'we didn't know'," he said.
"I don't buy it because there is never a good time to rape children.
"We need the dialogue to change so people start saying, 'I can't believe how ignorant we were and how can we do better'.

Ballarat survivors met with Pell yesterday in small groups with mixed results. I don't think he will be welcome back in Ballarat in a hurry.

No comments:

Post a Comment