Australian Police Investigate Abuse Accusations Against Cardinal George Pell

New York Times

JULY 28, 2016

SYDNEY, Australia — Cardinal George Pell, the de facto Vatican treasurer and Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, is being investigated in connection with multiple allegations of child sexual assault that date back four decades, a top police official said on Thursday.

The official, Graham Ashton, chief police commissioner of the Australian state of Victoria, confirmed a report by the government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation that detectives were investigating and had submitted an account of the allegations to Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions.

“We investigated and are still investigating,” Mr. Ashton said in an interview with the radio station 3AW in Melbourne, when asked about an inquiry.

The Victoria police have established a task force that is looking into such allegations in both religious and nongovernmental organizations.

Earlier, the police had refused to indicate whether Cardinal Pell was the subject of the investigation, which the ABC reported on Wednesday. But in an email, the police said, “Detectives are investigating allegations of historical sexual assaults committed in Ballarat East between 1976 and 1980 and East Melbourne between 1996 and 2001.”

The email added: “A brief of evidence has been prepared and presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice. Once the advice from the D.P.P. is received it will be reviewed. However, as with any investigation, it remains a decision for Victoria police as to whether charges will be laid.”

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