Claims of Pell abusing emerge

Cardinal George Pell. Photo: Arsineh Houspian
Cardinal George Pell. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

Allegations of Ballarat’s Cardinal George Pell sexually abusing children in the 1970s through to the 1990s have emerged. 

Alleged victims told the ABC’s 7.30 Report program Cardinal Pell abused them as children in locations across Victoria including in Ballarat, Toquay and Melbourne.

The program revealed Victoria Police's Taskforce SANO has been examining allegations from complainants 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.

Cardinal Pell has categorically denied the accusations.

He described the claims as "totally untrue and utterly wrong".

It comes months after it was revealed on the eve of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing, Cardinal Pell was being investigated by Victoria Police for unsubstantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Courier reported at the time Cardinal Pell was being investigated by Victoria Police Sano Taskforce for committing multiple offences against children.

In a statement, 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.

"He denies the allegations absolutely, and says that they, and any allegations of them by the ABC are nothing ore than a scandalous smear campaign which appears to be championed by the ABC," the statement said.

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