Katherine and Emma and their father Anthony Foster….
My blood was boiling last week over revelations that Archbishop George Pell had tried to deny and cover up an allegation of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest. You can read the details of that here. Basically, despite there being a recording of the priest admitting to his male rape victim that "I forced myself upon you" , the Archbishop claimed he was not convinced that the sex was not consensual. What right did he have to make that judgement? He is neither a police officer nor a judge.
And now, yet another tragic case has come to light. According to Lateline last night and reports in the SMH today:
THE parents of two girls who were repeatedly raped by a
Melbourne priest are flying to Sydney from London to face Cardinal
George Pell in time for Sunday’s World Youth Day final Mass.
Anthony Foster, whose daughters were raped by Kevin O’Donnell
when they were in primary school, alleges Cardinal Pell stalled the
family’s compensation claim against the Catholic Church when he was
archbishop of Melbourne.
Earlier this year, the eldest daughter, Emma, took her own life
after a long battle with drug addiction, which Mr Foster attributed
directly to her rape as a schoolgirl. His second daughter,
Katherine, who developed a heavy drinking habit, was hit by a drunk
driver in 1999 and left physically and mentally disabled and
requiring 24-hour care.
Last night, Mr Foster told the ABC’s Lateline program
that last week’s revelations that Cardinal Pell allegedly
obstructed a sexual abuse case against another priest had sparked
him into action.
He said he hoped he could support others with sexual abuse
claims and change the church’s attitudes to compensating
"I want them to set up a system that provides a life-time help
to victims, that begs forgiveness to victims," Mr Foster said.
Mr Foster said an apology by the Pope to victims of sexual abuse
in the church would not be satisfactory unless it was backed up by
structural change."An apology is not enough unless it is backed up with action,
unless he removes all obstacles to continuing support for victims,"
Mr Foster said.
"They should come to us and beg for forgiveness."
His daughters were raped over five years by O’Donnell when they
attended Sacred Heart Primary School in Oakleigh between 1988 and
It’s not yet clear what the Pope is going to say in his apology to the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic Clergy but George Pell’s attitude strikes me as arrogant, imperious and sceptical. A lot like the other day when he said he didn’t believe in global warming or that anything humans have done or continue to do is causing it.
When will the Catholic Church accept that sexual abuse by priests is not ‘an internal issue’ for them to deal with but a crime. A crime that must be acknowledged by the church who should also apologise to and compensate the victims.