Catholic Church puts asset protection ahead of abuse victims

12th Aug 2014

The Roman Catholic Church has demonstrated once again that it puts asset protection ahead of the interests of child sexual abuse victims, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

The comments were made following revelations on ABC TV’s Four Corners last night that the Catholic Church did not sack a parish priest even after an internal investigation commissioned by Cardinal George Pell discovered he was guilty of child sex abuse.

ALA spokesperson Dr Andrew Morrison SC said that while that latest revelations were horrific, perhaps the most disappointing issue raised by the Four Corners report was that it is only the latest example of the Roman Catholic Church refusing to accept responsibility for the priests under its control.

“There will be no real justice for victims of abuse until there is legislative change to force the Catholic Church to adopt the same liability as any other religious organisation as to the conduct of its clergy,” Mr Morrison said.

“We have known for some time that the church puts asset protection ahead of interest of the victim.”

Mr Morrison said that the Catholic Church is the only major organisation in Australia claiming immunity from suit and no responsibility for its clergy, and that is time to end the legal abuse of victims superimposed upon sexual abuse by clergy.

“The recently-completed Maitland Inquiry involving Father F has shown that the Catholic Church will not accept liability for the conduct of the priests under its control,” Mr Morrison said.

 “The Vatican has consistently refused to make documents available to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“If the Catholic Church was genuinely remorseful as to past abuse then it would ensure that all relevant documents were being produced for the Royal Commission rather than hiding documents in Rome,” Mr Morrison said.

Tags: Access to justice Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse