David Knox, TV Tonight, 3 April, 2020
Ahead of a High Court ruling, ABC hears historic allegations by two men, dating back to the diocese of Ballarat
In March 2016, Victoria Police contacted Bernie (surname withheld) as part of a wide-ranging investigation of historical sexual abuse allegations against Pell.
Additional allegations, including Bernie’s, were either withdrawn, dismissed or dropped when a planned second trial of George Pell was abandoned by the Victorian DPP.
A longtime friend of Pell’s, Father Eric Bryant, said he believed Pell was innocent and had been “set up,” while Sister Margaret O’Keefe told the ABC an investigation had ruled out the possibility of Pell ever being at Nazareth House.
When Bernie was contacted by Victoria Police in 2016, he made a sworn statement but says the psychological pressure was too great for him to proceed to trial. He said he now feels ready to tell his story.
Next week the High Court will rule on a pending appeal by Pell.
Update: On 7 April 2020 the High Court of Australia overturrned a conviction against Cardinal George Pell.
Bravehearts: 1800 272 831. Child Abuse Protection Hotline: 1800 688 009 Child Abuse Report Line: 131 478.