March 15, 2018
By Tessa Akerman
Cardinal George Pell allegedly abused one of his victims at a lake in the 1970s, a court has heard.
The Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning heard evidence from the father of an alleged victim that he initially heard about the abuse in 2015 from his other son.
“He could not talk to his father about it and he still cannot,” the man, who cannot be identified, said.
Cardinal Pell is appearing in a committal hearing charged with historical sexual offences in relation to multiple complainants.
The hearing will determine whether the cardinal will stand trial over the allegations.
Today the court heard the offending allegedly occurred when then Father Pell visited the lake with another priest while the father and his family were there.
The man said none of his family told him about improper, sexual or inappropriate behaviour while they were at the lake.
Robert Richter QC, representing Cardinal Pell, said the man was proud that he had given Cardinal Pell a water ski ride.
“I was proud because he was such a big man as to challenge a man driving a ski boat,” the father said.
The court heard the father did not name Cardinal Pell in his 2015 police statement as one of the men who allegedly committed offences against his son.
Mr Richter questioned the man about his statement.
“You say your omission from the statement was just ‘you forgot’,” Mr Richter said.
“That’s an invention of yours since July 2015. You just made that up after you made your statement.”
The father said Mr Richter had insulted him.
“Yes, that may be an insult but it’s true is it not,” Mr Richter said.
“Absolutely not,” the father said.
The man said when he spoke to the alleged victim his son did not go into detail and only said he was abused.
“I cannot remember the details, I was more concerned about the fact that he had been abused by priests.”
The father said he did not ask his son which priests allegedly committed offences against him.
Mr Richter said it was a “huge stretch” that the father did not mention Cardinal Pell when he was questioned by police.
The court heard the father had no idea there was an allegation against Cardinal Pell before his sons spoke to him in 2015.
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