Anthony Jones, on his property near Nimbin.
Anthony Jones, on his property near Nimbin. Northern Star/Lyndon Mechielsen

Christian charity?

IT wasn't bad enough that local man Anthony Jones was abused by a Catholic priest.

Now Cardinal George Pell's lawyers have told Mr Jones he could lose his house if he keeps pursuing legal action against the Church.

"I've had a letter from my lawyer where the Church says) I'd be forced into the situation (of having) to sell my home if I continued with the proceedings," Mr Jones said.

The 54-year-old disabled pensioner, who lives near Nimbin, said he was furious lawyers representing the Church would act in such a manner.

Mr Jones was sexually assaulted in 1982 by a priest, Fr Terence Goodall.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Australia, Cardinal Pell, has denied trying to cover-up allegations of sexual abuse against Fr Goodall.

Cardinal Pell has acknowledged the latest scandal was an embarrassment, but defended his actions over sexual abuse allegations against Fr Goodall, which he said were investigated by the Church and police and had resulted in the priest being stood down.

In the letter sent to Mr Jones's solicitor, Peter Karp, in June, John Dalzell of law firm Corrs Chambers Westgraph, representing Cardinal Pell, writes: "Unless he succeeds against our client on all components of his claim ... he is likely to remain liable for a substantial sum of money."

Later in the letter Mr Dalzell says: "In light of your client's impecuniosity (which means a lack of money), and absent substantial recovery and set-off, he will be unable to meet the taxed proportion of those costs without selling his homestead."

Mr Dalzell also writes: "On any view the continuation of these proceedings against the second defendant (Pell) cannot be in the interests of your client."

In the letter, Mr Dalzell says Cardinal Pell was prepared to walk away from the case without pursuing costs against Mr Jones, if Mr Jones would drop the case.

"If the offer set out in this letter is not accepted, we will produce this letter to the Court in support of an application by our client for whatever costs order is properly then available (depending on the outcome of the case)," he writes.

Mr Jones said he had rejected Mr Dalzell's offer.

Attempts were made to contact Cardinal Pell's lawyers before going to press, but they were unsuccessful.

An internal investigation by the Church is looking at Cardinal Pell's handling of Mr Jones' abuse case.

However, Mr Jones's solicitor, Mr Karp, said neither he nor his client had heard anything about the internal investigation.

"The archbishop said he'd review the matter and create a new panel to look into it, but I haven't heard anything and I'm sure Anthony hasn't heard anything either," Mr Karp said.

Mr Jones said an internal investigation would not help solve the problem of abuse.

"The Church shouldn't be investigating themselves, they should bring the police in straight away," Mr Jones said.


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