Pell explains.jpgThis morning’s update on the widening Aussie sex abuse scandal, also via dotCommonweal: Australia’s ABC News has obtained police wiretaps of a conversation between Fr. Terence Goodall and Anthony Jones, the man Goodall allegedly raped in 1982. Cardinal Pell had dismissed Jones’ complaint of abuse because he said Goodall told the cardinal the sex was consensual. Pell also rejected the finding of his own investigator, a former policeman, that Goodall had abused the man. On the tapes, however, Goodall tells Jones that he did not tell church investigators the sex was consensual. It turns out Pell never met with Jones, but did meet with Goodall.

“I’d certainly take legal advice I’ve always said I’m happy to talk with Jones, and if this new information is verified, I’d certainly talk with him on a new basis,” Pell told ABC News. Cardinal Pell told the 7.30 Report that until he sees the phone tap evidence, he believes Mr Jones was not sexually assaulted by Father Goodall, but that the act was consenual. “I don’t know who was lying. It’s very, very difficult to find out the truth in these situations,” he said.

Questions: Why did Pell accept the word of Goodall, who had also sexually abused a boy in the sacristy and a sixteen-year-old girl, over that of his investigator and without even hearing out the alleged victim? Also, why was Pell involved in the nitty gritty of these negotiations–matters normally left to lawyers?

Cardinal Pell said it is an extraordinary coincidence that the matter has arisen days before Pope Benedict arrives for World Youth Day in Sydney. But he said it does not taint the celebrations. “It’s a coincidence isn’t it … That things have been brought up just before the Pope comes. But … you have to cope with life as it comes,” he said.

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