VIC Police Have The Green Light To Charge George Pell With Sexual Abuse

George Pell might soon be at the end of his tether, as long-term ongoing investigations into allegations made against the Australian Cardinal now move towards a head.

Victoria Police are considering legal advice given to them by the Department of Public Prosecutions; advice which essentially gives police investigators the green light to charge Pell with a raft of historic sexual assault and abuse charges dating back to the 1970s.
The charges stem from Pell’s time in Ballarat, where he served as a priest, as well as his time as the Archbishop of Melbourne. The Ballarat cases occurred in the summer of 1978-79 and involve two men now aged in their 40s. They allege that Pell inappropriately touched them while playing a throwing game in a swimming pool. Other allegations reportedly involve as many as 10 victims – now aged between their late 20s and early 50s – with prosecutors reportedly suggesting Pell may have abused minors by both “grooming and opportunity.”
Victoria Police confirmed they had received advice from the DPP in a short statement issued to media.

“Victoria Police can confirm that it has received advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to a current investigation into historical sexual assault allegations. Detectives from Taskforce Sano will now take time to consider that advice.”

Pell, along with the Catholic Church, have repeatedly and vehemently denied all allegations levelled against the Cardinal. Pell’s office issued a short statement on the matter overnight.

“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.”

The issue with charging Pell, in this case, is that the Cardinal would have to voluntarily agree to leave Rome and return to Australia in order to have the charges heard.

Australia does not possess an extradition treaty with Vatican City, where Pell is permanently based, and a person with such a high ranking position in the city state could, in fact, be entitled to a certain degree of diplomatic immunity. Noted lawyer Dr. Vivian Waller, who has represented abuse victims in cases against the clergy in the past, appeared on ABC Radio Melbourne this morning to explain the “fairly complex” jurisdictional issues the case conjures up.

“We don’t have and extradition treaty with the Vatican and potentially someone in Cardinal Pell’s position would be entitled to some sort of diplomatic immunity.”

“I imagine there would be complex questions that arise if in fact Victoria Police do charge.”

The investigations into Pell remain on-going.

Source: ABC News.
Photo: Franco Origilia/Getty.