Catholic Church allegedly tried to buy silence over sexual abuse claims

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Courier Mail

07 April 2010

Padraic Murphy

THE Catholic Church offered money to a mother whose sons were sexually abused on condition that she did not take action against senior clergy, including then Melbourne Archbishop George Pell, it has been revealed.

The woman told how the deal was offered in 2000 following legal action relating to the abuse of her two sons in the 1970s at a Victorian Christian Brothers school. .

“They destroyed my family. I paid for my sons to be raped,” she said, revealing she refused to sign the agreement.

Now Australia’s most senior Catholic, Archbishop Pell was educated at the school, St Patrick’s at Ballarat, later sharing a house with Gerald Ridsdale, a priest jailed for abusing boys there.

Archbishop Pell has said he was unaware of Ridsdale’s appalling conduct and barely knew another Christian Brother, Edward Vernon Dowlan, who also was convicted of abuse.

His office on Tuesday refused to answer questions.

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