There were audible gasps Tuesday when Vatican treasurer George Pell said a notorious Roman Catholic Church sex-abuse case "wasn't of much interest" to him, NBC News reported.
The Australian cardinal — the highest-ranking Vatican official to testify on systemic sexual abuse of children by clergy — said senior clergy lied to him to cover up abuse in the 1970s.
He insisted that there was no reason for him to know the extent of the abuse carried out by his onetime roommate — Father Gerald Ridsdale — who was later convicted of 138 offences against more than 50 children.
Pell denied that there was any discussion of Ridsdale's being a pedophile at a meeting he attended in 1982 where it was discussed that Ridsdale should be moved to another parish.
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The cardinal also said he didn't know whether allegations of abuse against Ridsdale were common knowledge at the time.
"It's a sad story, and it wasn't of much interest to me," Pell said.