Cardinal George Pell is rejecting these allegations

Police are investigating multiple allegations of child abuse against Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, including that he touched

Police are investigating multiple allegations of child abuse against Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, including that he touched the genitals of children while swimming in a public pool in Ballarat in the late 1970s.

The allegations have now been referred by Victoria Police to the Office of Public Prosecutions for advice, the ABC reports.

The ABC’s 7.30 program has revealed that Taskforce Sano has been examining allegations from complainants in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne for more than a year, and is looking into incidents that allegedly happened during Cardinal Pell’s time as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

The program has obtained eight police statements from complainants, witnesses and family members who are helping the taskforce with its investigation. The allegations were repeated on 7.30 on Wednesday night, and include:

  • that Cardinal Pell would touch the genitals of children while swimming in a public pool in Ballarat in the late ’70s
  • that he was naked in the change rooms on a regular basis in front of children
  • that he exposed himself to three young children in another change room, at the Torquay Surf Club in 1986 or 1987.

The complaints include those by two men now in their forties, from George Pell’s home town of Ballarat,who say he touched them inappropriately in the summer of 1978-79 when he was playing a throwing game with them at the town’s Eureka pool.

In another complaint, Torquay businessman Les Tyack gave a statement to the royal commission last year relating to an incident at the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club in the summer of 1986-87.

A further complaint about George Pell that 7.30 is aware of relates to the period in the 1990s when George Pell was setting up the Melbourne Response — the Australian Catholic Church’s first attempt to seriously address child abuse.

It involves two teenage choirboys who asked their parents to leave the choir soon after the alleged abuse had occurred. One of the boys died in tragic circumstances two years ago and the other is working with Taskforce SANO detectives.

In a statement to the ABC, Cardinal Pell’s office said he “emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him”, and accused the ABC of mounting a smear campaign against him.

“If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the Royal Commission by now.”

However, the royal commission advises that these sorts of allegations are outside its terms of reference, because it only investigates institutional responses to child abuse, and it refers any new complaints of clergy abuse to police.

The Cardinal is entitled to the presumption of innocence and police and prosecutors will decide whether any of the allegations warrant charges.

The alleged behaviour raises serious questions about whether Cardinal Pell was ever an appropriate person to drive the Church’s response to child sexual abuse.

Share your thoughts below.

  1. I had so much respect for Pell ages ago, before he got involved in mishandling sexual abuses in his Diocese . His reactions and cold responses during the Royal Commision left me enraged!! Now I hear these sexual advances of his, that I believe he is guilty of. God help our church! Evil has indeed infiltrated it! I am so happy that in our parish, they have set up Safeway guards , people that you can voice your complaints to if you are abused by the laity or religious!! They will then investigate and not rely mainly on the priest or Bishop .

    • Gail Kinsella  

      Thats why Jesus says ..Dont trust in man ” man will only hurt you …..LET YOUR TRUST BE IN JESUS …..NOT THE CHURCH ……ITS ABOUT JESUS …AND HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM “WHO DIED FOR YOU ” BEING A CATHOLIC WONT get you to heaven …i know i was one until met jesus and fell in love with him …..not man mad rules ” Now i know i have a place in heaven and when i get there HE WILL SAY …,WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL CHILD OF MINE ……..PRAISE GOD ……THERE IS STILL HOPE …FIND HIM ” IF YOU DO START ASKING HIM TO SHOW YOU THE TRUTH …WAIT AND SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN …..I DARE YOU ……YOU WILL BE BLESSED ..

  2. Joyzabell  

    I’m afraid that Cardinal George Pell’s “indifference” to the victims of abuse from clergy had “alarm bells ringing” for me when I first heard about these allegations!
    God will be his Judge!
    Just hope he likes “hot places” as I have a feeling that St Peter may shut those Big Pearly Gates when he tries to enter!!!!!!

  3. Brian Kavanagh  

    Accusations, not charges. Innocent until proven guilty. I’m reminded of the recent attacks on the singer, Cliff Richards when trial by media over two years proved to be false. For those without sin and casting stones, I submit this for your edification.

    • Too hard to prove but ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’!! The poor kids were too afraid to say anything!!! We are all sinners but some sins are too horrible for words and our concern should be for the defenceless kids!!! The manager of the pool where Pell exposed himself to the boys saw it with his own eyes!! What reason would he have to lie??

    • Robyn Jefferson  

      You obviously can’t see a psychopath when you hear one. Did you ever listen to any of his comments on television. None so blind as those who will not see.

  4. Joan Marshall  

    Have you ever heard of any child abuser admitting he has inappropriately abused children? this man is now a Cardinal? a lot of these twisted people get in to the Priesthood to have ample chance to indulge their horrific sexual desires on innocent children. Look at the Australian icon in the entertainment industry the boy from Bassendean Rolf Harris who got away with it for years and in his old age it has just come to light.

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