LAWYERS for Cardinal George Pell have suggested clergy sex abuse victim David Ridsdale misunderstood a conversation between him and the senior Vatican official in which he claims Cardinal Pell attempted to bribe him.
The nephew of disgraced paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale fronted the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday to defend claims Cardinal Pell attempted to bribe him to keep quiet after he disclosed to him he had been sexually abused.
At the commission hearing in May, David said he called Cardinal Pell to tell him about the abuse in February 1993. He said Cardinal Pell asked him: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet," which he took to be an attempt to bribe him.
On Monday, Cardinal Pell’s barrister Sam Duggan put forward evidence that Father John Walsh was present when Cardinal Pell received the phone call and dismissed claims the conversation was “acrimonious.”
Father Walsh gave evidence to the inquiry that Cardinal Pell appeared “very concerned” about Mr Ridsdale following the conversation.
Mr Duggan attempted to suggest the conversation never happened as Mr Ridsdale recalled it.
Mr Ridsdale responded: “No, utterly; that is as clear to me as the first time my uncle forced me (into sex). These are the things that stick. They changed my life.”
Mr Duggan also suggested Cardinal Pell attempted to contact Mr Ridsdale in the weeks following the conversation with a follow up phone call , but Mr Ridsdale said this never occurred.
Cardinal Pell has repeatedly denied the claims.
After appearing at the commission, Mr Ridsdale declined to speak to the media however he stood by his testimony.
“The truth is easy to remember, I’m not the one who has to worry about lies,” he said.
Another victim Timothy Green was also cross-examined by Cardinal Pell's lawyers for a conversation he allegedly had with the senior Vatican official in the Eureka Pool change rooms more than 40 years ago.
Mr Green, told the inquiry Cardinal Pell was dismissive when he reported that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys at St Patrick's College in Ballarat, claiming he said "don't be ridiculous" and left the room.
Mr Duggan put forward evidence that BWD, one of the two men named as being with Mr Green during the conversation with Cardinal Pell had no recollection of the incident.
However, Mr Green maintained BWD was there when the conversation occurred.
"He was there, he may not have heard what I said," Mr Green said. " He may not have been concentrating, he may have been doing other things. I was sitting on a bench in the changing rooms, I was on the left-hand side and he was on the far right-hand side of me.
In his statement earlier this year, Cardinal Pell said he had no recollection of having a conversation with Mr Green.
The victims were grilled despite previous assurances by the Catholic Church that witnesses would not be cross-examined earlier this year.
The hearing continues.