23 May 2020
A petition started by a clergy abuse survivor has received more than 77,000 signatures supporting his call for Cardinal George Pell to be defrocked.
The Murray Valley Standard reports:
Paul Levey, who was sexually abused by Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale, launched the petition last week.
He said he was surprised to see so many people had supported the push and it was somewhat heartening for survivors.
“I don’t think if we got a million signatures that the church would do anything with Pell but it does show all of us how everyone out there is feeling,” he said. “It’s a big thing to have (the support) behind us.”
Levey was sent to live with Ridsdale at the Mortlake presbytery, in south-west Victoria, when he was 14 and was abused daily for six months. Ridsdale committed more than 100 offences against children in Australia and is currently in jail. Astonishingly, Pell gave him a character reference during his child sexual abuse trial.
Pell was released from prison last month after the High Court of Australia acquitted him of his historical child sexual abuse conviction.
However, last week findings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse made public its findings about its investigation into Pell. It had found that Pell knew children were being abused by members of the clergy and found it ‘implausible’ that other church members hadn’t told him about the issue.
Following that report being made public, calls have been growing for Pell to lose his status and be forcibly removed from the priesthood.
Levey wrote on his Change.org petition that “Pell allowed Gerald Ridsdale and others to continue to abuse children in their care for decades by simply moving them around to continue abusing”.
People can sign the petition at change.org.
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) May 23, 2020
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