The former bishop of Maitland and Newcastle Michael Malone, who yesterday claimed he could not recall looking at paedophile priest Denis McAlinden's file, this morning agreed under cross-examination that he did see the file.
Bishop Malone agreed with counsel assisting the special commission of inquiry, Julia Lonergan SC, that he did look at the paedophile's personnel file and told a victim it was: "So big you could not jump over it."
When asked by Ms Lonergan asked why he was reluctant to reveal that he opened the file, Bishop Malone said that he didn't look deeply into it and had "no idea" what he saw.
He said he knew about the abuse allegations in 1995 but did not contact police until 1999 through a professional standards committee, which acted as a church conduit.
"You must remember I was being torn by the knowledge [the two women] didn't want police involved," Bishop Malone said.
The inquiry heard the church's insurers had requested bishops to inform them of all sexual abuse allegations in the mid-1990s.
He said he felt let down by his predecessor, Bishop Leo Clarke, who did not tell him about McAlinden's history of offending.
Bishop Malone conceded he did not question the retired Bishop Clarke about other possible victims when the two women came forward in 1995.