Cardinal George Pell case: Alleged inappropriate conduct occurred in public pool, court hears

By James Hancock
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
March 23, 2018

Cardinal Pell strenuously denies the charges of historical sexual offences.

Cardinal George Pell allegedly acted inappropriately against complainants "under the water" of a public swimming pool and out of sight of others, the Melbourne Magistrates' Court has heard.

A sister of one of the complaints told the 76-year-old's committal hearing she helped her brother make a report in early 2016 of inappropriate conduct against Cardinal Pell.

Cardinal Pell has strenuously denied charges of historical sexual offending against multiple complainants.

No other details can be reported for legal reasons.

The sister told the court her brother spoke of the alleged offending occurring at a public swimming pool in regional Victoria.

The woman said she had also been at the pool but did not see the inappropriate conduct because it was "happening under the water".

"I was not in close proximity to what was actually occurring," she said.

"I couldn't see what was happening under the water from where I was."

Cardinal Pell's barrister, Robert Richter QC, told the court the woman's brother had made further allegations of inappropriate behaviour in a showering area.

The mother of another alleged victim told the court she had also been at the pool but never saw anything improper occurring.

"I didn't take much notice," she said.

The sister of another complainant later gave evidence that her brother had tearfully told her about inappropriate conduct by Cardinal Pell.

She said the conversation happened while both siblings were affected by alcohol after a family party.

"It was clearly painful and embarrassing," she said.

"I didn't want to probe what had happened to him."

The four-week long committal hearing is expected to conclude by Good Friday.

The magistrate will then make a decision on whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.


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