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Family unaware of Pell abuse claim


The family of one of the men alleged to have been sexually abused by the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, have revealed they know nothing about the alleged abuse.

The man, now dead, is alleged by the complainant in the case to have told him he was also abused by the archbishop at an altar boys' camp at Smiths Beach on Phillip Island in 1961. The complainant, a Melbourne man, has made the abuse allegations in a statement to the Catholic Church's Towards Healing process.

But members of the dead man's family said they were unaware of any such abuse and Dr Pell has denied the allegations, branding them "lies". One of the dead man's sisters said her brother never mentioned the alleged abuse to any of the five surviving members of the family or to his wife.

Dr Pell has stood aside as archbishop pending the inquiry into the allegations, which starts on Monday in Melbourne under former Supreme Court judge Alec Southwell. The family of the dead man, however, has criticised Dr Pell's defence and investigative team for upsetting them by telephoning and visiting them at home.

SISTER OF NAZARETH 'NO CASE TO ANSWER'
Meanwhile a Sisters of Nazareth nun accused of abusing children in a Brisbane orphanage had been told she had no case to answer, her order said yesterday.

Sr Bernard Mary and other nuns who served at Nazareth House, operated by the Sisters of Nazareth in Brisbane in the 1940s and 1950s, have been accused of sexually and physically abusing children at the orphanage.

The victims allege they were raped by nuns and priests, forced to eat faeces, vomit and rotting fish while under their care at the orphanage in suburban Wynnum. Two women, Lizzie Walsh and Bobbie Ford, repeated the allegations on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program on Sunday.

The program tracked sister Bernard Mary to Wellington in New Zealand, but she refused comment.

In a statement issued yesterday, Sisters of Nazareth regional superior in Australia, Sr Clare Breen, said police had interviewed Sr Bernard Mary about the allegations and decided she had no case to answer.

"At all times she has categorically denied the allegations against her, saying that they were false and misleading," Sr Clare's statement said.

Sister Clare confirmed that the order was making ex-gratia payments worth more than $1 million to former residents of the orphanage and had issued apologies to women who had begun legal action against the order in 1999.

DISCIPLINARY HEARING FOR PRIEST
Also in Queensland, a priest working as a registered psychologist is facing disciplinary action after massaging a patient - a fellow priest - behind his genitals.

The priest applied the pressure point technique in the Maryborough presbytery as part of "body work" therapy on another priest who sought his professional help as a counsellor.

He performed the therapy to relax the patient who had told him that he was very anxious about the alleged embezzlement of a large sum of money by a Catholic school principal in a colleague's parish.

The priest who was the subject of the disciplinary hearing provided the Health Practitioners Tribunal of Queensland with literature stating that massaging the perineum region was good for menstrual and genital conditions, constipation and insanity.

But the tribunal said there was no scientific data to support this - a fact the priest failed to tell his patient, the complainant.

LINKS
Pell abuse claim new to boy's family (SMH)
Sisters of cruelty (60 Minutes)

SOURCE
The Age/AAP (SMH)/Courier-Mail

24 Sep 2002