“George Pell committal: Complainant came forward after seeing cardinal on TV” & related articles

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ABS News     Australia

19 March 2018

Photo: Cardinal George Pell was accompanied in court by a church official. (ABC News: Karen Percy)

One of Cardinal George Pell’s alleged victims came forward after seeing allegations against Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric air on television, a Melbourne court has been told.

At the start of the third week of a hearing to determine whether the 76-year-old should stand trial, a solicitor told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court one of the complainants made a historical allegation against Cardinal Pell in November 2016.

Simon Acott, from Melbourne-based law firm Waller Legal, said the man told him that he was “abused” by Cardinal Pell at a swimming pool in country Victoria.

The court was told the law firm specialises in clerical sexual abuse compensation claims.

The men were having a meeting to discuss whether the man could apply for compensation over abuse he’d suffered at the hands of another priest, when the allegation against Cardinal Pell was raised, the court heard.

“Lots of stuff came back to me when I saw the TV special on George Pell,” the man allegedly told Mr Acott.

Defence barrister Ruth Shann grilled Mr Acott on whether he had first asked about Cardinal Pell or if the name had been volunteered by the man.

Mr Acott replied that “it wasn’t asked for, it was volunteered”.

But he was not able to recollect how it had come up during their meeting.

Ms Shann also asked Mr Acott if he was aware that the law firm’s principal, Dr Vivian Waller, had had public stoushes with Cardinal Pell, including making allegations about him in 2014 that were later proven to be impossible.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC objected to the question, telling the court it was an attack on Dr Waller’s credibility.

Ms Shann instead asked if Dr Waller had “expressed enthusiasm” about referring allegations against Cardinal Pell to police.

Mr Acott said that she had recently asked to have any mentions of Cardinal Pell by clients, referred to her directly.

‘Nothing untoward’

Two other witnesses who regularly frequented the pool where Cardinal Pell was often seen also gave evidence.

One told the court that he had never seen Cardinal Pell doing anything “untoward”.

He said he would see him playing with children at the pool by throwing them in the air by clasping his hands together to give them a foot up before launching them into the water.

Ms Shann asked the man whether Cardinal Pell had invited the boys to play or whether they had initiated the game.

The man said he did not recall him saying “come over” because they had “all wanted a go”.

Another woman who would often take her daughter to the pool said she’d never seen him acting inappropriately there.

Cardinal Pell was joined in court by church official Katrina Lee.

He strenuously denies all allegations made against him.

The committal hearing before Magistrate Belinda Wallington continues

__________________________________________________

Cardinal George Pell accused of sex assault during ‘Close Encounters’

The Age     (Australia)

19 March 2018 — 2:39pm

One of George Pell’s accusers reported allegations of sexual assault at a Ballarat pool after watching a media interview with other complainants, a court had heard.

The court also heard another of Cardinal Pell’s accusers alleged he was sexually assaulted during the screening of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Ballarat in 1978, but a cinema worker said he has no recollection of ever seeing the cardinal at the cinema.

Cardinal Pell, 76, appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday at the beginning of the third week of a hearing that will determine whether he stands trial. He is fighting charges of multiple historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants.

Cardinal Pell leaves court on Monday.

Cardinal Pell leaves court on Monday.

Photo: AAP

Details of the charges are yet to be revealed. Cardinal Pell has strongly denied the allegations.

One alleged victim contacted high-profile Melbourne lawyer Viv Waller’s office where he disclosed a number of alleged sexual assaults to legal assistant Simon Acott in 2016 after a story on allegations about the Cardinal aired on the ABC, the court heard.

The court was told the accuser previously reported sexual assault allegations about another priest, but in a later statement to Mr Acott, he also accused the cardinal of sexually assaulting him in a pool.

The complainant is alleged to have told Mr Acott that ‘‘lots of stuff came back to me when I saw the TV special on George Pell’’.

Robert Richter QC and Cardinal Pell arrives at the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week.

Robert Richter QC and Cardinal Pell arrives at the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week.

Photo: AAP

One of Cardinal Pell’s defence barristers, Ruth Shann, suggested that Mr Acott raised the topic of the allegations against the Cardinal while the complainant was making his statement.

Mr Acott disputed this claim and argued while he didn’t recall how the subject arose, he was confident he didn’t raise it.

‘‘My recollection is I didn’t ask him about Pell, he brought that subject up,’’ Mr Acott told the court.

‘‘It wasn’t asked for, it was volunteered. It was my job to take statements about the abuse he’d experienced … when that topic came up I just wrote down the facts.’’

Ms Shann said Ms Waller had ‘‘public stoushes’’ with Cardinal Pell in the past and would have displayed ‘‘enthusiasm’’ in forwarding the allegations to police.

Mr Acott responded: ‘‘She’s very careful when matters of Cardinal Pell arrive that it should be reported to police.’’

Defence barrister Robert Richter QC earlier asked cinema sales manager John Bourke if he or his staff were ever alerted to somebody being sexually assaulted during the screening of the film.

Mr Bourke told the court it would have been the role of the usher to ‘‘prevent trouble’’ and remain in the cinema during the screening.

‘‘If someone is heard to scream out in the balcony, an usher would have heard?’’ Mr Ritcher asked.

‘‘That would be something they would have reported and investigated?’’

Mr Bourke said his role as a screen projectionist meant he was not always aware of who was in the cinema or what they were doing.

‘‘They [the ushers] would investigate it and take whatever action required and forward it to me later,’’ Mr Bourke said. ‘‘But I can’t ever recall seeing Father Pell attending the theatre.’’

Another woman also told the Melbourne Magistrates Court she took one of the cardinal’s accusers to a doctor’s practice in the 1970s.

The doctor later said he didn’t recall seeing the alleged victim or any patient at the time with injuries that suggested a sexual assault had occurred.

The hearing continues.

_______________________________________________

George Pell accused of cinema, pool abuse

9 News     Australia

Cardinal George Pell is accused of abusing a complainant while watching the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind at a country Victorian cinema.

Australia’s highest-ranked Catholic is also accused of abusing another complainant at a swimming pool.

Pell, 76, returned to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday for week three of a committal hearing as he fights charges of multiple historical sex offences involving multiple complainants.

The court has not released details of the charges.

Defence barrister Robert Richter QC questioned cinema sales manager John Bourke whether he or his staff were alerted to someone being abused during a screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

“The situation is this: if someone is heard to scream out in the balcony, an usher would have heard?” Mr Richter asked.

“If someone was heard to scream or yell … that would have been something that would be reported or investigated?”

Mr Bourke said it would have been investigated and also said he did not remember seeing Pell at the cinema.

Pell also faces an allegation he committed a sex offence at a swimming pool.

But a man who was also at the pool told the court he did not see anything “untoward”.

“There was nothing remotely inappropriate?” defence barrister Ruth Shann asked.

“For me personally, no,” the man said.

Solicitor Simon Acott said one of Pell’s accusers contacted his legal practice in 2016 to make a complaint about clergy abuse.

It’s alleged the complainant told Mr Acott “lots of stuff came back to me when I saw the TV special on George Pell”.

“I can hear him saying ‘I was at the pool and I was abused by Pell’,” Mr Acott said.

Earlier on Monday, a specialist who treated a complainant told the court he did not remember seeing any injuries consistent with a sex offence.

The hearing, which will determine if Pell stands trial, will resume on Tuesday.

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Cardinal George Pell accused of sex assault during ‘Close Encounters’

Canberra Times

March 19 2018 – 2:39PM

Melissa Cunningham

One of George Pell’s accusers reported allegations of sexual assault at a Ballarat pool after watching a media interview with other complainants, a court had heard.

The court also heard another of Cardinal Pell’s accusers alleged he was sexually assaulted during the screening of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Ballarat in 1978, but a cinema worker said he has no recollection of ever seeing the cardinal at the cinema.

Cardinal Pell, 76, appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday at the beginning of the third week of a hearing that will determine whether he stands trial. He is fighting charges of multiple historical sexual offence charges involving multiple complainants.

Details of the charges are yet to be revealed. Cardinal Pell has strongly denied the allegations.

One alleged victim contacted high-profile Melbourne lawyer Viv Waller’s office where he disclosed a number of alleged sexual assaults to legal assistant Simon Acott in 2016 after a story on allegations about the Cardinal aired on the ABC, the court heard.

The court was told the accuser previously reported sexual assault allegations about another priest, but in a later statement to Mr Acott, he also accused the cardinal of sexually assaulting him in a pool.

The complainant is alleged to have told Mr Acott that ‘‘lots of stuff came back to me when I saw the TV special on George Pell’’.

One of Cardinal Pell’s defence barristers, Ruth Shann, suggested that Mr Acott raised the topic of the allegations against the Cardinal while the complainant was making his statement.

Mr Acott disputed this claim and argued while he didn’t recall how the subject arose, he was confident he didn’t raise it.

‘‘My recollection is I didn’t ask him about Pell, he brought that subject up,’’ Mr Acott told the court.

‘‘It wasn’t asked for, it was volunteered. It was my job to take statements about the abuse he’d experienced … when that topic came up I just wrote down the facts.’’

Ms Shann said Ms Waller had ‘‘public stoushes’’ with Cardinal Pell in the past and would have displayed ‘‘enthusiasm’’ in forwarding the allegations to police.

Mr Acott responded: ‘‘She’s very careful when matters of Cardinal Pell arrive that it should be reported to police.’’

Defence barrister Robert Richter QC earlier asked cinema sales manager John Bourke if he or his staff were ever alerted to somebody being sexually assaulted during the screening of the film.

Mr Bourke told the court it would have been the role of the usher to ‘‘prevent trouble’’ and remain in the cinema during the screening.

‘‘If someone is heard to scream out in the balcony, an usher would have heard?’’ Mr Ritcher asked.

‘‘That would be something they would have reported and investigated?’’

Mr Bourke said his role as a screen projectionist meant he was not always aware of who was in the cinema or what they were doing.

‘‘They [the ushers] would investigate it and take whatever action required and forward it to me later,’’ Mr Bourke said. ‘‘But I can’t ever recall seeing Father Pell attending the theatre.’’

Another woman also told the Melbourne Magistrates Court she took one of the cardinal’s accusers to a doctor’s practice in the 1970s.

The doctor later said he didn’t recall seeing the alleged victim or any patient at the time with injuries that suggested a sexual assault had occurred.

The hearing continues.

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