About John Lilburne
Priest's Rights, December 2001
Church Payments to Victims, 15 May
1643 K Sun 2 Jun 2002
Channel 9 has been advertising for in the past few days about
tonight's Sixty Minutes program. Accusations are being made about
Archbishop Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney. From what he has said
the accusations relate to the payment of money to victims of
sexual abuse as bribery for silence.
The advertisements did not make the accusations explicit,
and Archbishop Pell in his statement to the media (on Thursday)
... I accept the media's role in our society of agenda setting
and pursuing stories of public interest. What I find unacceptable
is Sixty Minute's blatant misrepresentation of their real intentions
and the harmful and misleading way in which this story is being
Yesterday his photo was on the front page of the Herald Sun
newspaper with the headline "$50,000 HUSH MONEY". I
notice the internet headline is different, "Pell in hush
money claim". I do not think it is reasonable to call
these payments "hush money".
According to the Herald-Sun report yesterday, regarding the
... Dr Pell said had the parents accepted the offer, "there
is a requirement that they don't talk about it." ...
According to the 1996 Media Release:
... Compensation payments, up to a maximum of $50,000 per
person, will be recommended at the discretion of the Panel. Such
payments will be made in full settlement of all legal claims
against the Archbishop and the Archdiocese. ...
If the recommended payment is not accepted, any person making
a complaint will remain free to pursue the matter through the
And according to the ABC report of 2 June:
... "You're told that you sign this document not to disclose
the information so that's basically it, the end of the subject.
"I could still talk about what happened to me but they
said you don't disclose the amount you received and that you
received compensation," Margaret said.
But the church maintains money paid to individuals was not
to keep them silent.
It says the forms signed at the start of a compensation claim
stipulate the claim should not discussed, but once the claim
is settled there is no confidentiality clause. ...
So the publicity of this case highlights that great care needs
to be made in making payments to victims of sexual abuse. I have
not seen tonight's story, but I think Archbishop Pell has handled
the public relations aspect of this well, as both the Australian
Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition seem to have said
in the two stories of 2 June.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 2 June 2002.
Minutes "Loss of Faith"
Media Statement, 30 May
Pell's Statutory Declaration
31 May "Sixty Minutes defends clergy sex abuse story"
Australian,1 June "Pell lawyers offer to abuse family"
Sun, 1 June "Pell in hush money claim"
Age, 2 June, "Inquiry call on sex claims"
2 June "PM backs Archbishop accused of silencing Church
Media Release about new Independent Commissioner