Priest Challenges Choir Boy Abuse Allegations
By Tess Livingstone
June 16, 2017
A priest who says he accompanied George Pell every time he was at St Patrick’s Cathedral has challenged one of the most salacious allegations against the former archbishop of Melbourne — that he abused two teenage choir boys in a backroom of the Cathedral — in an interview with Victoria Police.
The priest, who was on the then-Archbishop’s staff from September 1996 to January 2001 told police late last year it was “physically impossible for Archbishop Pell to have been alone with anyone in the Cathedral, before, during, or after the celebration of Sunday Mass or on any other occasion’’.
The cathedral abuse allegation, raised on ABC’s 7.30 a year ago, forms one of the most provocative chapters of journalist Louise Milligan’s book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, published by Melbourne University Press. In it, Milligan compares Cardinal Pell with an “Easter Island statue of a man, gliding through the cathedral, papering over emotion, lest he snap’’.
The priest, who has refused to become embroiled in a defence-by-media, answered police questions related to an alleged incident after a Sunday Mass at the Cathedral between July and December one year. Cathedral publications and photographs show the building was closed for restoration for most of that year until a Saturday night in November, when a Vigil Mass was held to celebrate Christ the King.