George Pell with a pedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale

Cardinal George Pell. A floncie Roman high priest hiding in Rome

Cardinal George Pell flies from Rome to London as he strenuously denies new abuse allegations

  • Melissa Cunningham
“Cardinal George Pell flew from Rome to London as explosive new details of alleged child sex abuse were levelled against Australia’s most senior Catholic.

Lawyers for Cardinal Pell last night strongly denied the allegations and said they were false, “unjustifiable, scandalous, deliberate and calculated to cause the most shocking damage imaginable to Cardinal Pell”.

A soon-to-be-released book, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, by ABC reporter Louise Milligan, contains detailed claims that he sexually abused two choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the late 1990s.

The legal letter also claimed the publication of the book’s allegations were a “deliberate attempt to influence the public opinion in a manner that would make it impossible for our client to receive a fair hearing in court should he be charged”.

The alleged abuse is said to have occurred after the introduction of the Melbourne Response, the compensation scheme for victims of clerical sexual abuse that Cardinal Pell established in 1996 after breaking ranks with the rest of Australia’s bishops who had been working on a national scheme called Towards Healing.

A separate statement from his Rome office on Saturday night, in response to a request for comment on the allegations, accused the book’s publisher, Melbourne University Press, and media organisations including Fairfax Media of “interfering with the course of justice”.”