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Pell knew 'abused' boys

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has revealed that he knew two altar boys he is alleged to have sexually assaulted on Phillip Island more than 40 years ago.

Dr Pell has also named a fellow seminarian at the island camp in 1961 who, as a 60-year-old priest, faced charges of indecent assaulting two boys, aged 10 and 11.

He has given the details to a secret commission of inquiry into allegations that he sexually assaulted the altar boys at the Smiths Beach camp in 1961. The inquiry begins in Melbourne on Monday.

In the statement the archbishop submitted on Wednesday to the inquiry by the former Supreme Court judge Alec Southwell, he reveals he has a photograph that might show the complainant sitting on his shoulders and the other alleged abuse victim at his feet.

Dr Pell denies that he abused the altar boys. He details activities at the camps for altar boys, which he is understood to have attended in 1961, 1962 and 1963.

The archbishop also refers to his distress at the publicity given to the allegations in Australia and overseas. He stresses his abhorrence of such abuse and details the extensive steps that he has taken to prevent it and to care for the alleged victims.

He describes in considerable detail the measures he has introduced to give the alleged victims a fair hearing, to provide for their care and to compensate them for their pain and suffering.

Sydney Morning Herald


Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court has heard the Catholic Church is being sued over alleged sexual abuse by a brother at St Joseph's, Hunter's Hill in 1983-84.

54 year old Br John Dennis Macguire faces 19 charges of indecency laid by eight former students for offences which allegedly occured at St Joseph's College Hunters Hill up to 19 years ago.

Solicitor Greg Walsh told the court one of the complainants is suing the Church over the alleged incidents.

The charges were laid last year after a police investigation in which former students of the school were contacted, some then laid charges. The local court hearing is being held to determine which witnesses will be called at a later committal hearing.



An Argentine archbishop accused of sexually abusing seminary students resigned on Wednesday under mounting pressure from judicial probes and allegations against him, a lawmaker said.

Monsignor Edgardo Storni (pictured), archbishop of one of Argentina's largest cities Santa Fe since 1992, resigned in Rome, where he was taking part in a conference with Pope John Paul II.

"He resigned in a letter he delivered to Vatican authorities," said Santa Fe provincial senator Alberto Baccanni, one of the people who sought a judicial probe into the sexual abuse allegations against Storni.

The Vatican has yet to say whether or not it would accept the Argentine cleric's offer to resign. The Vatican ordered an investigation of Storni in 1994 on sexual abuse allegations that concluded there was no supporting evidence.

The Argentine probe was prompted after last month's release of Olga Wornat's book Nuestra Santa Madre, which alleged teenage seminary students in Santa Fe, about 500 km north of Buenos Aires, were sexually abused. Wornat gave several media interviews since publication of her book but Storni has not yet made any public comments.

The archbishop, however, hired a lawyer and asked to make a statement in court, Baccanni said, adding the investigating judge has scheduled the cleric to give testimony next week.

"He is set to give testimony on 2 October so we expect him to return to the country," the provincial senator said.



Calling sexual abuse of children by clergy "the spiritual equivalent of murder," Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore pledged in a letter to the archdiocese's 180,000 registered Catholics to be "more open and transparent in our efforts to eradicate this evil."

Toward that goal, the cardinal released the names of 83 priests accused of child sexual abuse in the archdiocese since the 1930s and an accounting of archdiocesan funds spent due to sex abuse by clergy since 1987.

"The Catholic Church in the United States has been experiencing a crisis of trust -- a crisis brought on by horrible and criminal actions, and by inaction and secrecy," he wrote in the three-page letter. "Our faith calls upon us as believers to forgive," he added. "But we leaders of the church must earn forgiveness and rebuild trust by being resolute, consistent, open and accountable in our actions."

The letter began with an apology that bishops have sometimes "let our fears of scandal override the need for the kind of openness that helps prevent abuse."

Catholic News Service

I knew the altar boys, says Pell (The Age)
Family unaware of Pell abuse claim (24/9/02)
Pell accuser stands by his claim (10/9/02)
Pell defence swaps QCs (The Age)
Legal lifeline for Pell accuser (AAP)
Pell's accuser weighs up his options (9/9/02)
Terms of Reference Releases for Pell Enquiry (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill
Archbishop Edgardo Gabriel Storni (
William Henry Cardinal Keeler (
Archdiocese of Baltimore | Archdiocese charts new course to combat sexual abuse of children

27 Sep 2002