CARDINAL George Pell showed a "sociopathic lack of empathy" in dealing with victims who were raped by clergy, an inquiry has heard.Victoria's parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse heard today that Cardinal Pell, who was then the Archbishop of Melbourne and is now head of the Catholic Church in Australia, compelled victims into silence when confronted with evidence of wrongdoing by parish priests.
Anthony Foster told the inquiry that the late Father Kevin O'Donnell repeatedly raped his daughters, Emma and Katie, when the church had already been told of previous abuse he had committed in 1946, 1958 and 1984 but had taken no action.
"Here are glaring examples of crimes that should have been reported to the police . . . If they had been, Emma and Katie and scores of other victims would not have been assaulted by O'Donnell," he told the inquiry.
Emma and Katie were at primary school at the time of the offences.
"It's that simple. It is that simple."
Mr Foster said Emma had later turned to drugs and taken her own life after suffering years of torment and self-destruction, and Katie had been hit by a car while binge drinking and still needed 24-hour care for permanent disabilities.
But in a meeting with Cardinal Pell about his daughters' abuse, Mr Foster recalled how he was told any liability would be defended in court.
He said Cardinal Pell did not appear to be distressed by the incidents.
"In our interactions with the now-Cardinal Archbishop Pell, we experienced a sociopathic lack of empathy, typifying the attitude and responses of the church hierarchy," Mr Foster said.
The church later offered the Fosters $50,000, then claimed the assaults never occurred, and finally settled for a higher undisclosed sum, the inquiry heard.
Mr Foster called for the wealth of the church to be accessible to victims, since current payments for victims were far below those that would be achieved in civil proceedings.
He also wants mandatory reporting of child sex abuse.
The inquiry is continuing, even though a federal royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has been announced.