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Pell denies he was warned about paedophile

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell has no memory of being warned about a paedophile teacher at Ballarat's St Patrick's College in 1974, 20 years before the teacher, Br Edward Dowlan, was charged with sexually molesting young boys.

A former St Patrick's student, now 40, says that he and two other year 8 St Patrick's teenagers approached Dr Pell at Ballarat's Eureka swimming pool in 1974 and told him they believed Dowlan was abusing schoolboys.

"Dr Pell said he did not think the story could be true," said the former student, who does not wish to be named. "We expressed our suspicions, but he did not ask us any more."

Dr Pell said this week: "At a distance of 28 years, I have no recollection of any such conversation. If I was approached and thought the stories plausible I would have informed the Christian Brothers.

"I do not remember hearing rumours about Dowlan at that stage, a man I hardly knew. I came back to Ballarat in 1973 and was never attached to St Alipius Boys School, which Dowlan left at the end of 1971. He taught at St Patrick's College 1973-74."

In 1973, Dr Pell was made episcopal vicar for education for Ballarat diocese, guiding education policy.

The Age

24 Jun 2002