Cardinal George Pell is reportedly under police investigation after a new accuser came forward with fresh allegations of child abuse.
The revelation Victoria Police had been secretly probing the 78-year-old during his successful High Court appeal against child sex convictions comes just days after he was released from prison.
Police are yet to approach Pell or his legal team over the fresh allegation – which is understood to date back to the 1970s, according to the Herald Sun.
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Cardinal George Pell is reportedly under police investigation after a new accuser brought forward fresh child abuse allegations Pictured: Pell arrives at the Seminary Of The Good Shepherd in Sydney on Wednesday
George Pell leaves Barwon Prison on Tuesday after his child sex convictions were quashed
A man who now works in a professional role reportedly made the accusation.
A spokeswoman for the cardinal said on Monday night: ‘In any police matter there should be due process through the proper channels.’
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest the new allegations are true – only that police are reportedly investigating.
Cardinal Pell was not told of the fresh investigation until Monday, the paper reported.
It comes ahead of the airing of an interview between the 78-year-old and Sky News Australia presenter Andrew Bolt – in which Cardinal Pell said he ‘wouldn’t be entirely surprised’ if police attempted to prosecute him again.
In a preview for the interview, Bolt also asked the cardinal whether he was ashamed of the church and how it dealt with child sex abuse scandals.
‘Yes. There are two levels. One is the crimes itself and then the treating it so inadequately for so long,’ Cardinal Pell said.
‘It’s like cutting out a cancer. I think, please God, we’ve got rid of it.’
Cardinal Pell said he condemns ‘these sort of activities’, adding he has seen the damage it has done to victims.
‘One of the things that grieves me is the suggestion that I’m anti-victim, or not sufficiently sympathetic,’ he said.
In another part of the interview, Cardinal Pell accused the ABC of a ‘betrayal of the national interest’ after being asked by Bolt whether he was concerned by the broadcaster’s role in his ‘persecution’.
Pope Benedict XVI with Cardinal George Pell in July 2008 at an inter-faith meeting in Sydney
‘I believe in free speech,’ Cardinal Pell said. ‘I acknowledge the right of those who differ from me to, you know, to just state their views.
‘But in a national broadcaster, to have an overwhelming presentation of one view and only one view, I think that’s a betrayal of the national interest.’
The interview, which will air on Tuesday at 7pm, also sheds light on Cardinal Pell’s experiences in jail – where he befriended a number of inmates, including a convicted murderer.
Cardinal Pell (pictured in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City in 2013) has always maintained his innocence. He was not told of the reported fresh investigation until Monday
The cardinal won his appeal bid to the High Court on Tuesday and walked free from Barwon Prison, near Geelong, after more than 400 days behind bars.
He travelled from Melbourne to Sydney on Wednesday – stopping briefly at a petrol station to buy a phone charger and newspapers.
During the pit stop, the cardinal told media he was ‘very pleased’ to be free.
He apologised for not dressing better, saying he wasn’t expecting company on the trip.
The 78-year-old travelled from Melbourne to Sydney on Wednesday – stopping briefly at a petrol station (pictured in forecourt)
‘Before you arrived, it was better here,’ he told media at the service station when asked about life behind bars, before adding his prison experience was ‘not too bad’.
He also asked reporters to adhere to social distancing and not get too close to him.
Cardinal Pell arrived at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Homebush in Sydney’s west, at about 9pm on Wednesday.
Following the overturning of his child sex convictions, Cardinal Pell released a statement saying the serious injustice he suffered had been remedied.
‘I hold no ill will to my accused, I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough,’ he said on Tuesday.
The 78-year-old said his trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church or how Australian church authorities dealt with paedophilia.
The 78-year-old spoke candidly about the church’s failings following his release from prison in a sit down interview with Sky News Australia presenter Andrew Bolt. Pell is pictured in 2008
‘The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not,’ he said.
In December 2018, a jury found Cardinal Pell guilty of five charges, accepting evidence of one complainant that the then-Archbishop of Melbourne had sexually abused him and another 13-year-old choirboy at St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996.
One of the choirboys died in 2014, prompting the other to bring the allegations to police.
In an initial trial, a jury was unable to reach a verdict. The second jury was unanimous in its decision. An appeal to Victoria’s Court of Appeal last year was unsuccessful.
Cardinal Pell has always maintained his innocence, a fact noted in the High Court’s 26-page decision.
From allegations to sentence to freedom: A timeline of the George Pell case
* Pell appointed Archbishop of Melbourne by Pope John Paul II
* Pell sexually abuses two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, according to a later jury finding.
* A second indecent act is committed by Pell against one of the choirboys in a corridor at the Cathedral, the same jury found.
* Pell served as Archbishop of Sydney, 2001-2014.
* He has created a cardinal in 2003.
* The Herald-Sun reports Pell is being investigated by Victoria Police’s Sano taskforce for ‘multiple offences’ committed while he was a priest in Ballarat and Archbishop of Melbourne.
* Pell says the allegations are ‘without foundation and utterly false’ and calls for an inquiry into how the police investigation became public.
* Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton asks the anti-corruption watchdog to investigate the leak, but denies it came from police.
* Pell gives evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat.
* Under Vatican rules, Pell gives Pope Francis his resignation on his 75th birthday, as is customary. It is not accepted.
* Victoria Police investigators hand over to the state’s Office of Public Prosecutions a brief of evidence on allegations of sexual abuse by Pell.
* Officers travel to Rome to interview Pell over the abuse claims. He voluntarily participates in the interview.
* Police present their final brief of evidence to the Office of Public Prosecutions to consider charges.
* Prosecutors give police the green light to charge Pell.
* Pell is charged with multiple counts of historical child sex offences.
* He denies the charges and vows to clear his name.
* Lawyers for Pell appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court.
* Pell takes leave from his Vatican finance chief role to fight the charges.
* Pell returns to Australia.
* He hires top barrister Robert Richter QC.
* Supporters set up a fund to help Pell fight the charges.
* Prosecutors drop one of the charges against Pell.
* A month-long committal hearing begins to determine if Pell will face trial.
* Prosecutors withdraw more charges.
* Mr Richter claims police conducted a ‘get Pell operation’ and accuses magistrate Belinda Wallington of bias.
She refuses to disqualify herself from the case.
* Ms Wallington orders Pell stand trial on some charges but throws out others.
* Pell formally pleads ‘not guilty’.
* Two trials are ordered, separating the 1970s and 1990s allegations.
* A Victorian County Court employee is sacked for looking up information on the Pell case.
* The 1990s ‘cathedral trial’ begins in the Victorian County Court in Melbourne.
* Pell pleads not guilty again to one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four of indecent acts with a child, over incidents involving two 13-year-old choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996.
* The jury is discharged, unable to reach a verdict following a week of deliberation. Some jurors weep.
* A retrial begins. The jury aren’t told of the previous hung jury.
* Pell is found guilty on all charges by an unanimous jury.
* Mr Richter says Pell will appeal.
* Suppression orders prevent Australian media reporting the verdict but it spreads through international media within hours.
* Hearings begin ahead of the second trial. Prosecutors drop another charge
* An appeal is filed against the cathedral trial conviction.
* A County Court judge deems vital evidence inadmissible.
* Prosecutors withdraw all remaining charges against Pell and drop a second trial over allegations Pell indecently assaulted boys in Ballarat in the 1970s when he was a parish priest.
* Pell is taken into custody on February 27 as the plea hearing begins.
* Pell is sentenced by County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd to a maximum of six years in prison. He must serve at least three years and eight months in jail before being eligible for parole. He will be a registered sex offender for life.
* Court of Appeal considers Pell’s application to challenge his conviction on June 5 and 6.
AUGUST 21, 2019
* Court of Appeal upholds Pell’s conviction.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2019
* Pell files for special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.
MARCH 11-12, 2020:
* The High Court convenes to hear the appeal.
APRIL 7, 2020:
* The High Court’s seven judges unanimously agree to dismiss all convictions and Pell is released from prison.
APRIL, 14, 2020:
Cardinal Pell is reportedly investigated over fresh child abuse allegations.