Social Issues

Cardinal Pell, Catholic Church face civil lawsuit in Australia

Sydney, Australia, Jul 14 (EFE).- An Australian court on Thursday addressed a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of the city of Melbourne and Australian Cardinal George Pell, found guilty in 2018 of sexually abusing two minors in the 1990s, although his conviction was reversed in 2020.

The lawsuit was brought by the father of one of two former choirboys allegedly sexually abused by Pell when they were 13 at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Shine Lawyers’ legal team leader Lisa Flynn said in a video posted Thursday on Twitter.

The alleged victim, at the center of the lawsuit, accidentally died of an overdose in 2014 without pressing charges against Pell, although his choir mate did denounce the alleged abuses perpetrated by the then Archbishop of Melbourne.

The plaintiff, who appears in court documents under the pseudonym “RWQ,” said he has suffered psychological damage from the alleged sexual abuse perpetrated against his late son.

This lawsuit was addressed Thursday at a hearing on the administrative and logistical aspects of this process by the Supreme Court of the Victoria region, based in Melbourne.

The next hearing in this case against the Catholic Church and Pell, who has always maintained his innocence, is scheduled for Aug. 4 and will deal with “a separate legal issue,” court sources told EFE.

Cardinal Pell, former Vatican Secretary of the Economy, was sentenced in March 2019 to six years in prison for five charges of sexual abuse, one of them for oral penetration, a ruling that was ratified in August 2019. The sentence was later reversed in April 2020 by Australia’s highest court based on the “benefit of reasonable doubt.”

The former Vatican No. 3, who spent 13 months in prison before being released, had been accused of sexually abusing two unidentified minors from St Patrick’s choir when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

The father of the deceased alleged victim told The Age newspaper in 2019 that his son began to withdraw during adolescence, have problems in school and use drugs, while in his adulthood he spent time in prison.

“Really, I blame George Pell. I feel like he has taken my son from me… and it’s not just me, it’s his sister and his mother. We’ve all missed him. Why? Why?” RWQ said. EFE


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