March 15, 2018
A father testified in an Australian court Thursday that his son said he was sexually abused by Vatican Cardinal George Pell during a waterskiing outing years ago. When a defense lawyer accused him of lying, the father told the court it was an insult.
The testimony in the Melbourne Magistrate Court came at a hearing to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put Pell on trial.
Pope Francis’ former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical,” meaning they allegedly occurred decades ago.
Pell, 76, has said he will plead not guilty if the magistrate rules a jury trial is warranted.
The father of one of the alleged victims, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, testified via a video link that he first learned of the alleged abuse in 2015 and that his son struggled to talk about it.
Defense lawyer Robert Richter said the father did not name Pell in a statement he made to police then. “Do you have any explanation as to how it is there is no mention of Pell there, as having done anything wrong at the lake?” Richter asked.
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