The Church says it has reservations about police allegations tendered to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse, adding that it would be concerned if the allegations appeared in the inquiry report.
- AAP/Courier Mail
The report, which is due to be handed to Parliament next week, will make findings and recommendations on institutional responses to child abuse. Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner, Graham Ashton, told the inquiry that the church had covered up offending.
Church spokesman Father Shane Mackinlay says the church has some reservations about the inquiry as it had not been able to test the evidence. 'The allegations that were made were presented in very general terms and without evidence to support them,' he told AAP.
'We would be very surprised and concerned if they appear in the report.'
Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart and Cardinal George Pell of Sydney gave evidence at the end of the inquiry, acknowledging failures in the past but saying the church had changed.
Fr Mackinlay said they would have preferred to speak earlier.
'There were well-established positions and patterns emerging within the inquiry by then,' he said.
'The structure that the committee chose is going to make compiling a full and comprehensive report more challenging.'
Fr Mackinlay said he hoped the victims' interests were at the centre of the report.
'We do expect that there would be, and there needs to be, really strong opportunity for the harrowing stories of victims to be told,' he said.
Prosecutor of the faith (SMH)