BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Catholic Church in fresh abuse row
The Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell
Dr Pell says he is confident of clearing his name
The Archbishop of Sydney says he will temporarily step aside from his job while he is investigated over child sex abuse allegations.

Dr George Pell stands accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy when he was a trainee priest in the Archdiocese of Melbourne 40 years ago.


The alleged events never happened, I repeat emphatically, that the allegations are false

Dr George Pell
Dr Pell immediately denied the allegations, saying he was confident of clearing his name.

"I deny them totally and utterly," he said in a statement.

A retired Supreme Court judge, Alec Southwell, has been appointed to carry out an independent investigation of the allegation.

No police involvement

Dr Pell said he had taken a lead in exposing sexual abuse inside Australia's Catholic Church, setting up the first independent commission to look into the problem.

"To allege that I am personally implicated in this evil is a smear of the most vindictive kind... The alleged events never happened, I repeat emphatically, that the allegations are false," Dr Pell said.

But he added that to preserve the dignity of the Catholic church and his office of archbishop he would take leave while the investigation was conducted.

Pope John Paul II
The Catholic Church has been rocked by recent abuse claims

"I will, of course, co-operate with this independent inquiry in every way possible - frankly, openly, and unreservedly," Dr Pell added.

The Catholic Church's sexual abuse investigation team, the National Committee for Professional Standards, said that the man making the allegation was encouraged to go to the police but had not done so.

Worldwide, the Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of abuse allegations in recent months and Australia has been no exception.

Reports of sexual abuse by clergy in Australia have been emerging for more than a decade and millions of dollars have been paid out to victims in compensation.

In June, Dr Pell said that up to 90 priests and brothers had been convicted of sexual abuse in the past six years in Australia.

Controversial figure

Dr Pell was at the centre of controversy last month when attending the World Youth Day forum in Canada.

A Canadian newspaper claimed that Dr Pell told the audience that abortion was worse than priests sexually abusing youngsters "because (abortion) is always a destruction of human life".

He sparked an outcry earlier this year during an interview on an Australian current affairs programme when he said he had offered money to a family who said their daughters had been abused by a priest.

Dr Pell later said that the money was not intended to buy the victim's silence.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Phil Mercer
"Archbishop Pell has been at the forefront of efforts to expose child abuse"
President Chris Mac-Issac from Broken Rites:
"There has to be an independent inquiry"
See also:

08 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
03 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
31 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
18 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
03 May 01 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes