The interview that exposed Pell’s lie

George Pell Lie 60Mins

Title: The interview that exposed Pell’s lie

Author: Gavin Fernando

Publisher: The Chronicle

Date: 14MAR2019

WARNING: Graphic.

If it wasn’t for this unearthed TV interview, George Pell might have been viewed with a bit more credibility.

Pell was yesterday sentenced to six years’ imprisonment – with a non-parole period of three years and eight months – for abusing two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday mass at the Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in December 1996.

But his insistence of innocence goes beyond the trial against him, to a history of seeking to protect his reputation and that of the Catholic Church at all costs.

Here is the interview that would later expose one of his first public denials.


In 2002, 60 Minutes interviewer Richard Carleton brought Pell’s attention to Chrissie and Anthony Foster in Victoria, whose two daughters were abused by notorious paedophile Father Kevin O’Donnell at Oakleigh Sacred Heart Primary School.

At the time of the interview, the names of the family members were redacted.

Pell confirmed he knew the family, and said he had met once with the parents.

“The family is of the opinion that if you’d done your job, the daughters wouldn’t have been abused,” Carleton told Pell.

He quoted the parents’ account of their interaction with Pell, which has not changed since the incident took place: “We showed Pell a photo of him presenting our daughter with a confirmation certificate. His response was, ‘That’s a very nice photo.’

“We then showed him a photo of our daughter just after she had cut her wrists with blood coming out of them, and his only comment – with absolutely no change in attitude or facial expression – was, ‘Oh, she’s changed a bit, hasn’t she?'”

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