21 May 2015

Australian Cardinal denies bribery claims

12:53 pm on 21 May 2015

An Australian Cardinal has denied claims he tried to bribe a victim of a paedophile priest to keep quiet.

David Ridsdale, who was abused by his uncle Gerard Ridsdale, told the a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse yesterday that in 1993, after being informed of the abuse, Cardinal George Pell asked him what it would take for him to stay quiet.

The Royal Commission into sexual abuse in Australia is into the third day of its first public hearing in Ballarat, Victoria.

Cardinal Pell is Australia's most senior Catholic cleric.

Cardinal George Pell has denied claims he tried to bribe the nephew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to stay quiet

Cardinal George Pell has denied claims he tried to bribe the nephew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to stay quiet. Photo: AAP / file

"I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet," Mr Ridsdale quoted Cardinal Pell as saying.

In a statement released late on Wednesday, Cardinal Pell denied those allegations.

"At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent," the statement said.

"At the time of our discussion the police were already aware of allegations against Gerald Ridsdale and were investigating. Then, and now, I supported these police investigations."

Cardinal Pell said he regretted the "misunderstanding" between him and Mr Ridsdale.

"I was and remain extremely sympathetic to David Ridsdale, who because of his uncle suffered horrible abuse," he said.

In the statement, Cardinal Pell also denied ever moving Gerald Ridsdale out of Mortlake Parish.

"I never moved him anywhere. I would never have condoned or participated in a decision to transfer Gerard Ridsdale in the knowledge that he had abused children, and I did not do so," he said.

Cardinal George Pell is now the Vatican's finance chief.

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