"But victims were told if they chose to go to police, they were no longer eligible for compensation"
Cardinal George Pell to give evidence at child sex abuse inquiry
Pell was archbishop of Melbourne when the church set up the Melbourne Response compensation scheme
Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Wednesday 20 August 2014
Cardinal George Pell’s role in setting up a Catholic Church compensation scheme for victims of pedophile priests will be scrutinised on Thursday at the child abuse royal commission.
Pell was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 when the Melbourne archdiocese decided to respond to growing allegations of child sex abuse by its clergy. The church considered creating a legal entity that could be sued by victims, but designed the Melbourne Response compensation scheme instead.
Cardinal Pell told the royal commission earlier this year he believed the church should now create an entity that could be sued.
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry last year recommended the Catholic Church be incorporated so it could be sued....
Child sexual abuse royal commission: O'Callaghan advised abuse victims on strength of cases
By court reporter Peta Carlyon 20 August 2014
The man in charge of the Catholic Church's so-called Melbourne Response to allegations of child abuse has rejected suggestions he failed to encourage victims to go to police.
Peter O'Callaghan QC has been dealing with complainants and deciding whether they are eligible for compensation since the scheme began in 1996.
He was repeatedly questioned about the legal integrity of his decision-making at today's hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Mr O'Callaghan has been a Queen's Counsel for 40 years and said the Melbourne Response was based in canon law and "natural justice".
He said when there was a dispute with a claim he would take on a role similar to a magistrate in a criminal case.
He was again asked repeatedly why he did not report cases of abuse to Victoria Police and why he took it upon himself to advise victims on the potential strength of their cases....
Yesterday he told the commission he had made more than 330 adverse findings against priests within the Melbourne archdiocese since the complaint's procedure began.
The church has paid out more than $17 million to abuse victims through the scheme.
But victims were told if they chose to go to police, they were no longer eligible for compensation....