AP NEWS

Man lodges lawsuit in Australian court against Cardinal Pell

March 7, 2019
In this Feb. 26, 2019, photo, Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia. A man who alleges he was sexually molested by Pell as a boy in the 1970s sued the disgraced cardinal in an Australian court Thursday, March 7, 2019. The 50-year-old alleges in the filing lodged in the Victoria state Supreme Court that he was a victim of physical and sexual abuse while in the care of St. Joseph's Boys Home in Pell's hometown of Ballarat between 1974 and 1978. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A man who alleges he was sexually molested by George Pell as a boy in the 1970s sued the disgraced cardinal in an Australian court Thursday.

The 50-year-old alleges in the filing lodged in the Victoria state Supreme Court that he was a victim of physical and sexual abuse while in the care of St. Joseph’s Boys Home in Pell’s hometown of Ballarat between 1974 and 1978.

The suit names Pell, the trustees of the Sisters of Nazareth, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and Victoria state.

Because the man alleges he is a victim of sexual abuse, state law prevents him from being identified in the media.

He alleged Pell sexually abused him three or four times in a swimming pool at the church-run children’s home.

“It took a lot of courage and soul searching to be prepared to tell my story, accusing one of the most senior Catholics in the world of serious criminal offences and eventually I was resigned to having my day in court,” the man said in a statement through his lawyer.

Pell will be sentenced next week for convictions of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and indecently dealing with the boy and his 13-year-old friend in 1996 and 1997, months after the 77-year-old cardinal became archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell has denied any wrongdoing and intends to appeal his convictions in the Court of Appeal in June.

Each of his five convictions carries a potential 10-year maximum sentence. But most of sentences for individual convictions will likely be served concurrently.

Pope Francis’ former economy chief was convicted in December. But media were forbidden from reporting the news by a court order that was lifted last week when a second trial was dropped.

Pell was to be tried in April for allegedly groping two boys aged 9 or 10 and 11 or 12 in a Ballarat public swimming pool when he was a young priest in the 1970s.

Prosecutors dropped the case last week after a judge ruled that only a charge involving one of the boys could proceed.

The man suing Pell was originally to be a complainant in Pell’s second trial. But prosecutors last year dropped the charges related to the man’s accusations over a lack of evidence.

The man also alleges physical abuse by others at the boys home and is suing for medical expenses and loss of earning capacity. He has not specified an amount of money.