Civil claim brought against Cardinal Pell and Australian Archdiocese

VicSupremeCourtAustralia The Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. | Bidgee / Wikimedia (GFDL)

An Australian court on Thursday heard from the lawyer representing a man seeking legal action against the Catholic Church and Cardinal George Pell.

The man is the father of a former choirboy, who prosecutors alleged had been abused by Pell. His son died from an accidental drug overdose in 2014, having never made a complaint against Pell. 

The father is seeking compensation in a civil case against the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and the 81-year-old Pell, who served as archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001. 

Australia’s High Court unanimously overturned Pell’s conviction for alleged sexual abuse on April 7, 2020. The cardinal, who has always maintained his innocence, was released after more than 13 months of imprisonment and returned to Rome, where he had served as the Vatican’s economy czar.

Speaking outside the Victorian Supreme Court on July 14, the lawyer for the plaintiff, Lisa Flynn said: “We’re here for the father of the deceased son, a son who our client alleges suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the Church when he was a boy.” 

Flynn said she could not discuss the damages her client is seeking. 

Pell’s lawyer, Nicholas O’Bryan, said the cardinal “absolutely denies the allegations and will be defending the claim,” the Age reported.

At the brief hearing on Thursday, the case was scheduled to resume on August 4.

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