“George Pell sex files: police sought advice from prosecutors” & related articles

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The Australian

12:00AM   July 28, 2016

Tessa Akerman    Reporter Melbourne

Cardinal George Pell

Victorian prosecutors were asked by police to review sex abuse claims against Cardinal George Pell but sent the file back to detectives without recommendations.

The police file was sent to the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions in the past month but was returned by director John Champion, who advised officers any decision on charges was their call,the Herald Sun reported last night. The revelation came after the ABC broadcast statements from two men last night accusing Australia’s most senior Catholic of abusing them as boys.

Cardinal Pell, who wrote to Victoria Police in May asking if they wanted to interview him, hit back immediately. “The accusations are sheer fantasy and completely implausible,’’ he told The Australian from Rome.

It was reported in February that Victoria Police’s Sano Taskforce was investigating Cardinal Pell over allegations spanning from his time as a priest in Bal­larat in the 1970s to his time as archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s, allegations which he has strongly denied.

Cardinal Pell called for an ­investigation into the leaks at the time and claimed they was designed to cause damage to the Catholic Church and to him just a week before he was to give evidence to the child sex abuse royal commission in February.

Last night ABC’s 7.30 reported the claims that Victorian police were investigating multiple allegations of child sex abuse by the cardinal dating back to the 1970s. Two former St Alipius students, Lyndon Monument and Damian Dignan, told the program that Cardinal Pell would abuse boys at the Eureka swimming pool in Ballarat.

Mr Monument claimed that in the summer of 1978-79, the then episcopal vicar for education began touching him with one hand under the water. “The hand on my crotch would cover my penis and testicles and would cover my anus area,” he said. “Father Pell would throw me into the air and I would dive into the water.”

Mr Dignan claimed the-then Father Pell would grab the boys around the testicles and anus.

The 7.30 program also reported allegations that Cardinal Pell abused two teenage choirboys in the 1990s. It was reported one of the boys died two years ago and the other was working with Sano Taskforce detectives.

Sano Taskforce was established to investigate historic and new allegations emanating from the Victorian parliamentary ­inquiry into child sex abuse ­involving religious and non-government organisations.

An associate of Cardinal Pell said the cardinal wrote to Victorian police in May asking if they wanted to interview him.

The associate said police replied last month, saying they did not require an interview.

Victorian police and the Office of Public Prosecutions declined to comment last night.

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George Pell: The surf club allegation

ABC News

27 July 2016

George Pell

When local businessman Les Tyack walked into the Torquay Surf Club change rooms one day in the summer of 1986-87, he encountered a scene that struck him as “very odd” — George Pell with three boys he estimates were aged between 8 and 10.

“I said, ‘Hi George’, and at that time he was towelling, had the towel going across his shoulders drying his back, but he was facing three young boys standing about three or four metres across from him,” Mr Tyack told 7.30.

He thought it was “a little strange”, but he put his gear onto the bench and had a shower.

“I was in the showers for probably five to 10 minutes and when I came out the boys had got dressed,” Les Tyack said.

Torquay surf beach Photo: Torquay surf beach (Wikimedia)

“But Pell just had the towel over his right shoulder, still facing the boys, and the boys were looking at him, there was no communication between them, but Pell was looking at the boys they were looking at him.”

“I immediately thought this is not right, there is something amiss here.”

Mr Tyack says the thing that disturbed him was that the naked Pell had stood there for 10 minutes facing the boys.

“I thought that was not on,” he said.

“(It was a) very strange situation for an adult to be full-frontal to three young boys.”

He said he told the young boys to “finish doing what you’re doing, off you go”.

“When they left, I then said to George Pell, ‘I know what you’re up to, piss off, get out of here, if I see you back in this club again, I’ll call the police’,” he said.

Pell made no response at all when I challenged him: Les Tyack

Les Tyack Photo: Torquay businessman Les Tyack remembers an unusual incident with George Pell in the Torquay Surf Club change rooms.

Mr Tyack did not see the priest at the club again.

But club records show George Pell was a member of the club for many years and he has publicly stated that it was his practice to holiday every summer in Torquay during the period.

Mr Tyack said one of his biggest concerns was how George Pell’s torso was angled during the incident.

“It makes me very suspicious that he was exposing himself to those three young boys,” he said.

“He made sure that at no time was I given the opportunity to see the front of him.”

“(I thought that was) very suspicious, because when I challenged him, he made no response to me at all – which I thought quite odd.”

“I’m certain that if I’d been challenged in such a manner, I certainly would’ve fired up with questioning: What do you mean? What are you talking about?”

“But, no. Pell went very silent. Didn’t say a word.”

At the time Mr Tyack did nothing more, but after hearing other allegations about clergy in the Royal Commission last year, he decided to report the Torquay incident because if there were other potential victims of George Pell it might form part of a “dossier” for police.

Last year, Mr Tyack made a statement to both the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and Victoria Police’s Taskforce SANO about the incident..

Cardinal Pell rejects claims that he has abused anyone

Cardinal Pell declined to address Mr Tyacks specific allegations, or anyone else’s, in the statement sent by his office to 7.30.

But he rejects claims that he “sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life”, and says any allegations of such are “totally untrue and completely wrong”.

“The Cardinal’s conduct has been repeatedly scrutinised over many years, including before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations and … by Victoria Police’s SANO Taskforce,” the statement says.

However, the royal commission is yet to make findings on the Cardinal’s evidence to it in February, and neither it nor the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry publicly examined allegations of child sexual abuse by the Cardinal himself.

7.30 understands Taskforce SANO has sought the advice of the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions.

The Cardinal is entitled to a presumption of innocence and police and prosecutors will make their own decisions about whether to press charges on any of the allegations against him.

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Cardinal George Pell calls child abuse allegations a smear campaign

ABC reports on year-long investigation into allegations Pell abused children in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne

The Guardian

Guardian staff

Cardinal George Pell at a press conference in Sydney.

Cardinal George Pell has firmly denied allegations he sexually abused children in Victoria. Photograph: Paul Miller/AAP

A Victoria police taskforce has reportedly been investigating Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic and a top Vatican official, for more than a year and has referred child abuse allegations to prosecutors.

Pell has consistently denied the allegations and said claims he abused young children in Victoria are “totally untrue and completely wrong”.

The ABC has reported police are investigating multiple allegations of abuse by Pell in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne.

Pell’s office has made a statement to the ABC denying the allegations and describing them as “nothing more than a scandalous smear campaign”.

“If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the royal commission by now,” the statement said.

Two men told the ABC Pell groped them at a Victorian pool in the 1970s.

The men, who were in primary school at the time, said Pell abused them when he would frequent Ballarat’s Eureka pool during the summer of 1978-79, according to the ABC.

One of the men, Lyndon Monument, told the ABC’s 7.30 he was reluctant to speak up because of the power Pell held.

“I didn’t like it but because it was a church and he was George Pell, we just – you just weren’t game to ever say anything, you know what I mean,” Monument told 7.30.

The two men, now in their 40s, have given separate statements to Victoria police’s special taskforce Sano last year.

Pell, who was a priest in Ballarat in the 70s, has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying claims he has sexually abused anyone, at any place, at any time, were “totally untrue and completely wrong”.

Last month the Victoria police chief commissioner, Graham Ashton, confirmed child exploitation taskforce Sano was still investigating the cardinal.

It was first reported there was a police investigation into Pell before he was due to give evidence to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse in February.

At the time he denied the allegations and called for an inquiry into Victoria police.

with Australian Associated Press

__________________________________________________________

Police are investigating child abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell who rejects them

news.com.au

Shoba Rao 

CATHOLIC cleric George Pell has denied claims that he sexually abused children as police revealed they are investigating a series of child sex abuse allegations against him.

The ABC 730 program revealed that Victoria Police are investigating several complaints from the 1970s to the 1990s from complainants in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne for more than a year.

Victoria Police’s Taskforce SANO, which investigates complaints from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, is looking into the allegations.

The allegations relate to a period when Cardinal Pell was the Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

ABC 730 stated it had eight police statements from complainants, witnesses and family relatives, who are assisting the Victorian taskforce.

ABC 730 stated there were two men from Ballarat in their 40s, who alleged Pell touched them inappropriately in 1978-79 at the Eureka pool during a throwing game.

One of the complainants, Lyndon Monument, told police and ABC 730 that Pell would allegedly would touch his penis, testicles and a*** before throwing him up into the air in the pool.

“I tried not to think about it,” he told the program.

“He was always just the godly figure. We all had to look up to him. We would get told in class that George Pell is coming today, so brush your hair and tuck yourself in.”

Lyndon Monument recalls his statement to police on ABC 730. Picture: Supplied

Lyndon Monument recalls his statement to police on ABC 730. Picture: Supplied  Source:Supplied

When asked why he didn’t come forward earlier, he said it was too traumatising to discuss.

“Because it was a lot of pain for not only me but for a lot of other people. And I learnt to deal with things by just keeping them close to me, I suppose,” he said.

In a statement to the ABC, Cardinal Pell’s office said he would not be giving an interview to ABC 730 and “emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him”.

Mr Monument also alleges in his statement that Pell invited him into the changerooms after they went swimming.

“He would undress. And then he would say to us to undress. So we would undress. And then he would teach you how to dry your testicles and in between your bum and stuff like that,” he told the program.

When asked by ABC 730 if he was wearing any clothes at the time, Mr Monument said: “No”.

Mr Monument’s childhood friend, Damian Dignan, also told ABC 730 that he told police about the throwing game in the pool with Pell.

Damian Dignan speaks to ABC 730. Picture: Supplied

Damian Dignan speaks to ABC 730. Picture: Supplied  Source:Supplied

Mr Dignan’s allegations remain untested by the law. But he said he was scared of Pell.

“It’s sort of hard to explain. To sit in the confession box with a very, very strong scary man sitting on the other side. We were very, very scared as little kids,” he said.

In another complaint, Les Tyack from Torquay gave a statement to the royal commission last year.

He alleged he walked into the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club in 1986-87 and found George Pell allegedly naked in front of three boys he estimates were aged between eight and 10.

“I thought that was not on. Very strange situation for an adult to be full frontal to three young boys. I said to the young boys, ‘Finish doing what you’re doing, off you go.’ When they left, I then said to, George Pell, ‘I know what you’re up to. P*** off, get out of here. If I see you in this club again, I’ll call the police,’” he told ABC 730.

Les Tyack recalls an incident with George Pell on ABC 730. Picture: Supplied

Les Tyack recalls an incident with George Pell on ABC 730. Picture: Supplied  Source:Supplied

Another complaint about Pell that ABC 730 aired relates to when he was setting up the Melbourne Response — the Australian Catholic Church’s first attempt to seriously address child abuse in the 1990s.

At the time, he was the Archbishop of Melbourne. The alleged incident involved two teenage choirboys who asked their parents to leave the choir after alleged abuse had occurred. One of the boys died. The other is working with Victorian Taskforce SANO detectives.

ABC 730 said that a spokesman for Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed it is “very much a live investigation”.

The program said that the Pell case has been referred by Victoria Police to the Office of Public Prosecutions for advice.

Cardinal Pell, 75, is Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, serving as the Vatican’s finance chief.

In its statement to the ABC, Cardinal Pell’s office said: “The Cardinal’s conduct has been repeatedly scrutinised over many years, including before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations and according to leaked reports, by Victorian Police’s SANO Taskforce.

Cardinal George Pell has rejected and denied the claims. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

Cardinal George Pell has rejected and denied the claims. Picture: Ella Pellegrini  Source:Supplied

“The Cardinal does not wish to cause any distress to any victim of abuse. However, claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong.

“He denies the allegations absolutely, and says that they, and any acceptance of them by the ABC, are nothing more than a scandalous smear campaign which appears to be championed by the ABC. If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the Royal Commission by now.

“In February this year media outlets carried stories of purported allegations against the Cardinal which were being investigated by the SANO Taskforce.

“However, no request has been made to interview Cardinal Pell nor has he received any details of these claims from the police or anyone. In late May the Cardinal was advised by the SANO Taskforce that there had been no change in the status of the investigation since the leaks were first reported.

“When Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton was asked in June this year if there were any plans to speak with Cardinal Pell in Rome he replied “…..it had not been put as necessary to me at this point in time.”

Archbishop Denis Hart has spoken out, defending Cardinal George Pell. Picture: Aaron Francis

Archbishop Denis Hart has spoken out, defending Cardinal George Pell. Picture: Aaron Francis   Source:News Corp Australia

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart also issued a statement saying the allegations on ABC 730 do not reflect the man he knows as Cardinal Pell.

“I have known Cardinal Pell as a seminarian, priest, bishop and friend for more than 55 years,” he wrote.

“The allegations made on the ABC 7.30 Report on 27 July against Cardinal Pell do not reflect the man I know or the behaviour which I have observed over the years I have known him.

“All citizens are entitled to have allegations of criminal conduct investigated independently and according to law by the Police.

“Cardinal Pell is entitled to have allegations against him investigated according to the usual lawful processes without being compromised or sensationalised by the media. Cardinal Pell is also like all citizens entitled to the presumption of innocence. All in society are at risk if these basic tenets are breached.”

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