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Sydney Cathedral Choirmaster makes welcome return

Yesterday saw the return of David Russell, the St Mary's Cathedral choirmaster whom the Church was ordered to reinstate after it sacked him over allegations of negligence in a 20-year-old sex abuse case.

The Industrial Relations Commission last week determined the allegations were false.

The Sun-Herald described him as "flanked by the choir and a group of supportive parents" after Mass, saying that it was "wonderful to be back and wonderful to be making music again".

Mr Russell was sacked in January last year following a former choirboy's claims that two decades earlier the choirmaster had seen him being sexually abused and done nothing about it.

Archbishop George Pell distributed Communion to the choirmaster and said afterwards he welcomed him back.

Mr Russell, in turn, said he "was thrilled to receive Communion from Archbishop Pell this morning" and he did not feel "any rancour at all" towards the church, despite being fired in circumstances found last week to be "harsh, unreasonable and unjust" by the Industrial Relations Commission, which ordered his reinstatement.

The Sun-Herald quoted Peter Vierboom, who sang at St Mary's as a child, and now sings there with his son, said he was privileged to be under Mr Russell's direction. "He's a great man and I don't think there'd be a person who knows sacred music better in Australia; maybe in the world," the Turramurra man said.

A chorus of approval as choirmaster make his return (Sydney Morning Herald 7/6/04)

Choirmaster to get job back (CathNews 2/6/04)
Cathedral Dean defends basis for sacking choirmaster (CathNews 20/8/03)
Choirmaster denies deceiving inquiry (30/7/03)
Choirmaster denies letting pedophile abuse boy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Choirmaster denies claims (Courier Mail)
Pedophile victim speaks out against sacked choirmaster (7/3/03)
Choirboy says abuse was watched (The Age)
Sydney Church sued over St Mary's choirmaster allegations (3/3/03)
Sacked Sydney choirmaster claims Archbishop was hijacked (10/2/03)
Parents back sacked choirmaster (Daily Telegraph)
Archbishop was hijacked, claims sacked choirmaster (Sydney Morning Herald)
Cathedral music director dismissed after 'extensive inquiry': church (ABC)
Statement of David Russell (9/2/03)
Pedophile victim to sue church over abuse in home of sacked choirmaster (Sydney Morning Herald 8/2/03)
Anger over sacking of Sydney Cathedral stalwart (6/2/03)
Archdiocese of Sydney | St Mary's Cathedral

7 Jun 2004