Dad demands further action after sex abuse inquiry

May 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM
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MELBOURNE, May 27 (UPI) -- The father of two girls who were abused by a Catholic priest in Australia says apologies don't matter if the church doesn't take further action.

Monday was the last day of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Abuse, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

During the inquiry, George Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic Cardinal, admitted to a coverup of child sex abuse in the church, and the Catholic Church said at least 620 children had been abused by clergy members in Victoria over the past 80 years.

"I'm certainly totally committed to improving the situation. I know the Holy Father is too," Pell said.

The archbishop of Sydney said he was "fully apologetic and absolutely sorry" about the child sex abuse within the church.

However, Anthony Foster, whose two daughters were repeatedly raped by their parish priest, Father Kevin O'Donnell, when they were children, said the admissions of guilt and apologies are meaningless if further actions aren't taken by Pell.

"We hope that we will get the right recommendations out of this inquiry," he said. "Then we'll get action by this government to change the legislation, to force the Catholic church to look after victims, to enable victims to get true justice, and so that then there will be consequences for anyone who tries to do this sort of covering up in the future."

Members of the church have agreed with Foster, including Father Kevin Dillon of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Parish in Geelong.

Dillon said Pell's testimony during the inquiry was similar to other Catholic leaders involved in other sex abuse scandals.

"Which has perhaps been disappointing insofar as maybe people were hoping for some radical shift, to be able to ensure that people who have been abused can have a little bit more hope to believe in," Dillon said. "But nonetheless I think it's had its role in the whole inquiry, and ultimately it'll be when that inquiry gives its findings later in the year -- I think at the end of September -- that perhaps the real import of both today and the previous months will really be felt."

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