D-Day for George Pell: Police must decide whether to charge cardinal over historic child sex charges

D-Day for George Pell: Police must decide whether to charge cardinal over historic child sex charges:

  • Victoria police handed advice over Cardinal George Pell¬†abuse allegations¬†
  • Victoria Police confirmed that it had received advice from the DPP
  • Must now be decided if Australia’s most senior Catholic official will be charged
  • Alleged that Cardinal Pell sexually abused up to 10 boys between 1978 and 2001
  • The 75-year-old has strenuously denied abuse allegations levelled against him

Advice on historical sex abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell has been sent to Victoria Police by the state’s Department of Public Prosecutions.

It must now be decided whether Australia’s most senior Catholic official will be charged over allegations of sexual abuse.

Allegations the Cardinal abused boys while a priest in Ballarat were aired last year and a new book released on Monday makes further claims.

The 75-year-old has denied all abuse allegations made against him and called the book, titled Cardinal: The rise and fall of George Pell, ‘an exercise in character assassination’.

Victoria Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday night that it had received advice from the DPP ‘relating to a current investigation into historical sexual assault allegations’.

‘Detectives from Taskforce Sano will now take time to consider that advice,’ the statement reads.

‘As with any investigation it will be a decision for Victoria Police as to whether charges are laid. As this remains an ongoing investigation, we will not be commenting further at this time.’

News Corp reports the advice relates to allegations against Cardinal Pell.

It has been alleged that Cardinal Pell sexually abused up to 10 boys between 1978 and 2001 while he was a priest in Ballarat and then archbishop of Melbourne.

The Sano taskforce were investigating these allegations, The Daily Telegraph revealed.

A brief of evidence was reviewed in August last year, but was sent back without recommendations.

The Cardinal was then interviewed by three detectives from the taskforce in Rome in October, 2016, who then updated the brief of evidence.

Now it is ultimately up to the police on whether to charge the cardinal, however unless the 75-year-old voluntarily agrees to return to Australia to face any possible charges, there is a chance he may never face court, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Allegations of sexual abuse by Cardinal Pell, were aired in a book, Cardinal: The rise and fall of George Pell, by ABC journalist Louise Milligan, released on Monday.

‘Each and every allegation of abuse and cover up against him is false. The book is an exercise in character assassination,’ a statement from Cardinal Pell’s office issued on Monday night reads.

‘The decision by MUP (Melbourne University Press ) to bring forward the publication of the book prior to any findings by the Royal Commission and while allegations are still under consideration by the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions is a blatant attempt to interfere in the course of justice.

‘Unlike MUP, the Cardinal will not interfere with the course of justice. He will await the outcome of due process before launching defamation action.’

Milligan has covered the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse and last year interviewed two men who claimed they were abused by Pell in the 1970s, when he was a priest at Ballarat.

Her book details allegations of sexual assault by Pell against choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the 1990s.

The alleged abuse took place after Pell launched the Melbourne Response, an internal Catholic scheme for abuse victims.

H/t reader kevin a.

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