Man alleges Pell abuse at Victorian lake

By , 17/12/2018 16:21

A committal hearing for historical sex charges against Cardinal George Pell continues in Melbourne. George Pell’s defence barrister has accused the father of a complainant of inventing an allegation.

One of the people who have accused Cardinal George Pell of historical sex offences alleges ‘s highest-ranked Catholic abused him during a waterskiing outing in rural Victoria.

The man also alleged he was abused by a second clergy member, his father told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Pell has been charged with multiple historical sex offences involving multiple complainants and is fighting the charges at a month-long committal hearing that will determine if he stands trial.

The court has not released details about the charges against Pell.

The father of a complainant said he was first informed about the alleged abuse in 2015.

The father said his son struggled to talk about the alleged abuse, which is why his other son told him and not the complainant himself.

“I think he was protecting me from it because of health concerns,” the retiree told the court via video link.

Afterwards, the father made a written statement to police on July 9, 2015, recounting what his son had told him.

Defence barrister Robert Richter QC said the father did not mention Pell in his statement and had only recently named Pell as the alleged offender.

“That’s an invention of yours since July 2015 when you made your statement,” Mr Richter said.

“At some stage after you made your statement, between July 2015 and today, you made that up.”

“That is an insult,” the father responded via video link.

“It may be an insult but it’s true, is it not?” Mr Richter said.

“Absolutely not,” the father replied.

Mr Richter also repeatedly questioned the father about whether he had asked his son if Pell had allegedly abused him.

The barrister also suggested the retiree was not close to his son.

“We were a very close family,” the father said.

“That’s totally disrespectful to say that to a father.”

It is alleged the incident took place during a family outing at a lake in northwest Victoria.

“There’s nothing in your statement about Pell doing anything wrong or wrongful, or shameful,” Mr Richter said.

The barrister said the father never mentioned the lake incident except to tell people he had once given Pell a waterski ride.

“I was proud because he was such a big man and it was a challenge to the driver of a ski boat,” the father said.

Another father told the hearing he did not find out about alleged abuse against his son until 2015.

The hearing before magistrate Belinda Wallington will resume next week.

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