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Civil suit is filed against child sexual abuser Cardinal George Pell

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Published in Religious News

CANBERRA, Australia -- A civil lawsuit has been filed in Melbourne against Australia's Cardinal George Pell, who has been found guilty of child sexual assault and is awaiting sentence, the Supreme Court of Victoria said Thursday.

The legal proceedings were filed late Wednesday, naming Pell as a defendant along with the State of Victoria, Child and Family Services Ballarat and the trustees of Catholic charity the Sisters of Nazareth.

The plaintiff's name cannot be disclosed because of legal reasons.

The court did not give any details, but local media reported the man alleges Pell sexually abused him as a boy three or four times in the 1970s in a swimming pool in Ballarat where Pell was a priest.

The man, 50, was a complainant in a second trial against Pell, which was dropped by prosecutors last week over a lack of evidence, according to Australian Associated Press.

"It took a lot of courage and soul searching to be prepared to tell my story, accusing one of the most senior Catholics in the world of serious criminal offences ..." the man was quoted as saying.

In an earlier trial in December, Pell was found guilty by a jury on five charges of sexually assaulting two boys in a cathedral in 1996 when he was Melbourne's archbishop.

 

Pell continues to maintain his innocence. His appeal will be heard in early June.

Pell, the Vatican's former treasurer, is the highest Catholic official to be convicted of child sexual abuse. He is in custody and will be sentenced on March 13.

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