Cardinal George Pell has strongly denied being involved in an alleged sex abuse cover-up within the Church after the Royal Commission heard he tried to bribe a victim to keep quiet, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
In a statement released last night, Cardinal Pell renewed his rejection of claims that he helped move disgraced paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale between parishes and tried to pay one of his victims to remain silent.
He also denied ignoring another victim's claim that a now-convicted sex offender was abusing children at St Patrick's College in Ballarat.
Chairr of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, Justice Peter McClellan, said yesterday that Cardinal Pell would be required to respond to the allegations.
Cardinal Pell, now finance chief at the Vatican, released a statement online late last night saying he had already addressed many of the claims levelled against him in a Victorian parliamentary inquiry in 2013, and he stood by those statements.
"Over the last 24 hours, I have been accused of being complicit in the moving of a known paedophile, of ignoring a victim's complaint, and of bribery," he said.
"These matters again require an immediate response and it is important to correct the record, particularly given the false and misleading headlines."
In evidence to the inquiry yesterday, David Ridsdale, who was abused by his uncle, convicted sex offender and former priest Gerald Ridsdale, said he called then-Fr Pell to tell him about the abuse.
Mr Ridsdale said he chose to phone Fr Pell because he had known him since birth and: "He was the only human being in the Church whom I believed was still a friend and who I could trust."
He said Fr Pell asked him: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet."
Mr Ridsdale said his response was: "'F--- you, George, and everything you stand for."
After he hung up, Mr Ridsdale said he told his sisters about the phone conversation."I remember saying to both my sisters: 'The bastard just tried to bribe me'," Mr Ridsdale told the hearing.
"I have never stated that Pell offered me anything specific or tangible in our conversation, only that his attempts to direct the conversation down a particular path made me extremely suspicious of his motivations and what he was insinuating."
Cardinal George Pell told abuse victim not to be ‘ridiculous’ (The Australian)
George Pell tried to bribe abuse victim, royal commission hears (AAP/The Guardian)