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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 11:02 GMT
Extracts from Cardinal's interview
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connell
The Cardinal said the mistake had been a "filing error"
The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, has denied that he deliberately misled the public over the way he handled the case of a priest who allegedly sexually abused a 12 year old girl.

Here are extracts from that interview on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme.

  • "The woman in question made no specific allegations at that stage... [I] went to the social services, the police, the NHS. All of them thought that this could go no further and that seems to me to be very indicative."

  • "I gave my word that as far as I could ascertain that in all the cases where there had been an allegation during my period as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton had been sent away for independent assessment. That I said with great confidence and so it is a frustration to me that in this particular case, the file and papers were not collated together and it wasn't sent away."

  • "Of course I should have remembered but the file should have been there. I'm not trying to excuse myself but in good faith I said there were 10 cases as far as I could remember and I didn't remember this one. I handled the matter properly and professionally."

  • "The files were not under my jurisdiction at that point. The files when a bishop leaves a dioceses are the responsibility of the local authority. I'm responsible now for the files in Westminster."

  • "One of my sorrows is that any failing in the system seems to be indicating that the Catholic Church is not serious about child protection and that is just not true."

  • "I think this particular case says that there was a mistake in the filing system."

  • "The assessment in the past was that this priest was no risk to children. I believed it in the past and I still believe it."



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