Pell’s apology must be backed up with compensation – ALA
28th May 2013
The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling on the Roman Catholic Church to put its money where its mouth is and use the vast wealth of assets at its disposal to properly compensate victims who fell and continue to fall prey to paedophile priests.
“In evidence at the Victorian Legislative Council Inquiry yesterday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia, George Pell, accepted that the Church could afford to pay its victims proper compensation,” Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Dr Andrew Morrison SC said.
“He told the Inquiry that the Church would pay whatever compensation the government thought proper and he should be taken at his word,” Dr Morrison said.
“Governments throughout Australia should immediately make the Church trustees liable for the conduct of the Church and the Church should in turn be held liable for the conduct of its priests. The limitation period restrictions on suing should also be lifted,” he said.
Dr Morrison said the ALA agreed with Cardinal Pell that the Church should be no more liable than other institutions.
“At the moment his Church is the only one immune from law suits for harm caused because of its peculiar structure which protects its vast assets,” Dr Morrison said.
“This includes Cardinal George Pell’s $30 million residence in Rome paid for by the Roman Catholic Church in Australia.
It is time that money was devoted to compensating the victims of the cover up that he has now acknowledged occurred,” Dr Morrison said.