George Pell Unfit Archbishop
Lawyers acting for the father of a former choirboy have claimed the former senior Catholic cleric was not a fit and proper person to be a priest or the archbishop of Melbourne because of his knowledge of other instances of abuse inside the church.
Documents filed in August last year and publicly released on Friday also allege that Pell was “prepared to use opportunities afforded to him to act upon his sexual proclivities towards boys under 16 years of age” and that they would introduce evidence to that effect.
Prosecutors alleged that two former choirboys were sexually abused by Pell in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s. Pell was in 2018 found guilty by a County Court jury of abusing them in the cathedral after a Sunday Mass in December 1996. Those convictions were quashed by the High Court in 2020 and Pell was released from prison after more than a year in custody.
The documents list several allegations of abuse that have been made against Pell since the early 1960s and also allege that he was not a “fit and proper person to serve as a priest, nor as Archbishop of Melbourne”.
“[Pell] became aware of allegations and instances of sexual abuse and other sexually inappropriate conduct by members of clergy … [Pell] failed to properly consider and take appropriate action in relation to sexual abuse by members of the clergy,” the statement of claim, lodged by lawyers acting for the father, listed with the court under the pseudonym RWQ, says.
“[Pell] took steps to avoid sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by the clergy becoming known … [Pell] failed to report or prevent sexual abuse by members of the clergy.”
The plaintiff’s lawyers cite examples that Pell was aware of multiple cases including that of Doveton parish priest Father Peter Searson and Father Nazareno Fasciale, which they suggest he should have acted upon.