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Bishops welcome Pell's return

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference yesterday welcomed the return of Dr George Pell to his duties as Archbishop of Sydney.

Conference president Archbishop Francis P Carroll praised Pell's "courageous personal decision" to stand aside while an inquiry into allegations he sexually abused an 11 year-old altar boy took place.

The inquiry conducted by retired Victorian Judge Alec Southwell concluded on Monday that the complaint against Dr Pell had not been established.

"I am grateful to Mr Southwell for the thorough way he has conducted the inquiry," Carroll said in a statement yesterday. "I note with appreciation the generous comments of the complainant's lawyer affirming the fairness of the process.

"Now the matter is happily settled, Archbishop Pell is able to resume normal duties. I hope that he and all involved will now be able to leave this unfortunate and distressing experience completely behind them."

The inquiry cleared Dr Pell of molesting the boy during a summer camp at Phillip Island, in Victoria, in 1961.

On Monday Dr Pell said he had no ill-will towards his accuser, but was bewildered by the allegation.

He said it is unlikely he will sue the Victorian man who accused him of sexual abuse, after he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

"I wouldn't rule it out forever and a day as a general principle but it's not part of my thinking at the moment," he said.


Archbishop back at work (Daily Telegraph) (payment required)
Editorial: Pell inquiry fails to give real resolution (The Australian)

16 Oct 2002