ISSN 2330-717X

Cardinal Pell Targeted Again – OpEd

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No Catholic figure has been more victimized by bogus charges of sexual abuse than Cardinal George Pell. Now two other accusers have come forward, and their stories don’t pass the smell test any more than the others did.

Pell is in prison awaiting a decision on his appeal for allegedly abusing two boys in 1996. One of the boys, who died of drug overdose, told his mother on two occasions that it was all a lie—he was never abused by Pell. This makes suspect the charge of the other boy: they were allegedly abused at the same time and in the same place. They have no witnesses, nor will anyone vouch for them. The latest charges are just as spurious.

Two men who lived in the same orphanage in the Australian city of Ballarat, Victoria have now come forward to make accusations of sexual abuse against Pell; the alleged offenses took place in the 1970s. 

In 2016, Victoria police contacted Bernie [his surname is being withheld by reporters] and Philip Clarke as part of their investigation of Pell. Their allegations, along with others, were either withdrawn, dismissed or dropped. 

Clarke now says Pell inappropriately touched him in a YMCA swimming pool. When he was contacted by the Victoria police and asked if Pell had ever abused him, he had a chance to nail Pell, but he never did. He says he didn’t want to have any part of it at that time, but now he has changed his mind. 

Brett O’Neill was a regular at the same pool during this time. He says he never saw Pell do anything wrong. “No…if something had been a bit out of whack with George,” he said, “I think our parents would have got involved. If they had thought that there was something not right, they would’ve been in the change rooms.” 

Bernie’s story is even more suspect. He says Pell inappropriately touched him while showering at the orphanage run by the Sisters of Nazareth. But it was established during the 2018 hearings at Melbourne’s Magistrates’ Court that Pell had only been to Nazareth House once. That was in 1980 when it was closing. The current head of the Sisters of Nazareth told the media that she has no knowledge of Pell ever being at the home.

Why didn’t Bernie tell the cops his story when he was interviewed by them? He claims the psychological pressure of having to deal with a trial was too much for him, but not anymore. He’s good to go.

The timing of these revelations is more than curious—they are scandalous. The High Court of Australia will deliver its ruling on Pell’s case in Brisbane on April 7. 

In other words, these men never came forward before, did not tell their tales to the police when they were interviewed, and just now decided to go public, one week before the High Court’s ruling. Conveniently, Bernie was featured on an ABC-TV program (Australia) that just aired.

The vendettas against Cardinal Pell are astonishing. Please keep him in your prayers as we approach Holy Week.


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William Donohue

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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