Further charges expected

Further charges expected

A new police investigation is underway against Australian Cardinal George Pell. According to media reports, a man again accuses Pell of having been sexually abused by him in the 1970s.

Australian media videos show at least four police officers on Tuesday entering the Melbourne seminary where the 78-year-old has been living since his acquittal by Australia's High Court last week. Meanwhile, Pell gave his first interview since being freed.

Not enough testimony

The former Vatican finance chief has repeatedly denied having sexually assaulted children and young people. The High Court had last week overturned Pell's six-year conviction for sexual abuse. According to the judges, the jury had not sufficiently considered the testimony of exculpatory witnesses.

Legal experts expressly emphasized after the annulment verdict that the proceedings before the highest court were not about the question of whether Pell had committed the crimes or not, but about legal formal errors in the criminal trial as well as in the subsequent appeal proceedings.

The assessment of the "Pell case" is very difficult for the public, because the testimony of the alleged victim has never been published and is known only to the parties directly involved in the trial.

In addition, reporting on the criminal proceedings was prohibited by the courts at the time. Even the guilty verdict in December 2018 was not allowed to be reported initially. The ban applied to Australian as well as international media outlets. The public is therefore still not aware of what went on behind closed court doors in the criminal proceedings.

Victim of "one-sided" reporting

In a first interview after his de-long after 405 days in prison, Pell complained that he was a victim of "one-sided" reporting by the Australian public broadcaster ABC. "A national broadcaster overwhelmingly presenting one view and one view only is cheating the national interest," the cardinal said in an interview with his confidant Andrew Bolt.

Excerpts of the interview for the Sky News channel were already published on Easter Monday. The full interview with journalist Bolt, a longtime confidant of Pell, will air Tuesday night Australian time.

In Melbourne, civil lawsuits were already pending against Pell for the abuse of young people before the new investigations that have now become known. In addition, criminal charges are likely on suspicion of obstruction of justice in his testimony before the state abuse committee. Evidence of this may be found in the two volumes of the commission's final report, which are to be released after the proceedings now concluded.

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