Victims of pedophile priests want immediate action on
compensation payouts from the Melbourne archdiocese.
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart will give evidence to the
child abuse royal commission on Monday and victims say he has
the power to help them right now.
Anthony Foster, whose two daughters were raped by notorious
abuser Father Kevin O'Donnell, said it was Archbishop Hart's
time to "actually do something".
"Denis Hart could make the changes on Monday afternoon that
are needed to give a lot of relief to a lot of victims right
now," Mr Foster told reporters on Friday.
Mr Foster said the church needed to create a legal entity
that could be sued, as recommended by a recent Victorian
He also called for an independent review of all payments made
under the church's Melbourne Response, set up in 1996 to
handle allegations of clergy sex abuse in the Melbourne
"I want to hear him say there should never have been a cap on
the Melbourne Response (payouts)," Mr Foster said.
Archbishop Hart has previously promised to consult with
victims about reviewing the compensation paid under the
Last April he said he would present the results of his
consultation to the royal commission.
More than 300 victims have been paid an average of $33,000
under the Melbourne Response. Payments were initially capped
at $50,000 and later raised to $75,000.
Victims who have sued the church outside the Melbourne
Response have won an average of $293,000.
Mr Foster said the royal commission had heard a lot of church
leaders refuse to take responsibility for events that
happened before their time.
"Come Monday we see Archbishop Hart, we see the person who is
responsible for this archdiocese of Melbourne right here,
right now," Mr Foster said.