Lawyer Michael McAuley has written a devastating critique of the Royal Commission’s treatment of Cardinal Pell. In brief, he argues convincingly that the evidence does not support the commission’s findings against the cardinal. He concluded the campaign morphed into the Get-Pell campaign, the campaign that resulted in sending an innocent man into solitary confinement for more than a year, destroyed his health, and left him vocationally and socially liquidated.
Was the Royal Commission hand in glove with the “Get Pell” campaign?
A close study of its “findings” reveals serious flaws
Michael McAuley, Mercatornet, 29 May 2020
After Cardinal George Pell’s successful appeal against his conviction for sexual abuse, the “Get Pell” campaign died down. But the release of three unredacted reports of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has given it a second wind.
Although they were not directly relevant, these documents were redacted because they might have prejudicially swayed the juries in the Cardinal’s two trials.
In the redacted text, the Royal Commission effectively accused Cardinal Pell of lying about two important meetings involving abusive priests. His position was that he was deceived about their sexual abuse in both instances. The Royal Commission contended that this was implausible. Armed with this criticism, Pell’s critics are having a field day.
The Royal Commission is a mixed bag. It got much right — and some things seriously wrong, especially his knowledge of the crimes of two serious abusers, Gerald Ridsdale and Peter Searson. Its findings should be compared to a 2015 inquiry by the Family Development Committee of the Victorian Parliament, Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry Into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non Government Organisations. That inquiry made no finding against Pell, although it was critical of other Church leaders.