A soon-to-be-published book about Cardinal George Pell has made shocking claims about Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic official, alleging that he is guilty of sexually abusing two boys in the late 1990s. 

Cardinal: The Rise And Fall Of George Pell is written by ABC journalist Louise Milligan, who has covered Pell extensively in the past, and previously revealed allegations of sexual abuse against him on the 7:30 program. 

Per reports in The Age, the two boys were both students at St Kevin’s College in Toorak, and sang in the choir at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melboune at the time the alleged abuse occurred. 

Milligan alluded to these allegations on 7:30, but her book goes into more detail, and includes the testimony of one. It is claimed that the boys were abused in a back room of the church, and both requested to leave the choir soon after. 

She spoke to one of the alleged victims, now aged in his 30s; the other died of a drug overdose in 2014, and did not speak about his abuse with his family, but according to his mother, he admitted it to a friend before his death.

In 1996, when he was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Pell set up the Melbourne Response, a compensation scheme for victims of sexual abuse by priests. 

The alleged abuses outlined by Milligan would have taken place after this date, and in the book, she writes:

“One of the things that has helped George Pell and his defenders to bat off or gloss over the allegations of [other alleged victims] is the seeming ambiguity of the behaviour, depending on how it is cast. It’s the notion that this was simply ‘horseplay’ or ‘a bit of rough and tumble’ and that [the victims], damaged men, had simply misinterpreted what was going on. The story of [the choirboys] has no such ambiguity. If these allegations are true, they point to utter, sinful, hypocrisy.”

In June 2002, Pell was accused of inappropriately touching a boy in the early 1960s, while a seminarian, and in February 2016, it was revealed that he was the subject of a police investigation with respect to the abuse of “up to ten minors.”  

In October of last year, three Victorian police officers flew to Rome to question Pell about specific allegations involving two boys in the 1970s. 

There is no suggestion that Pell is guilty of any of the alleged instances of abuse, and he himself has vehemently denied all accusations. 

Source: The Age.

Photo: Franco Origlia / Getty.