A man is set to sue convicted Australian Cardinal George Pell over child sex abuse allegations, reports said Monday, days after state prosecutors dropped his criminal case against the disgraced cleric.
Pell — the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse — is currently in detention awaiting sentencing for assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s.
News of the conviction in December had been suppressed by a court until last Tuesday, when prosecutors dropped a second trial involving alleged abuse at a swimming pool in Pell’s hometown of Ballarat in Victoria state in the 1970s.
The man in the second trial, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in the new civil lawsuit’s statement of claim that he felt “empty” after his criminal case was withdrawn before he could give evidence, Melbourne’s The Age reported.
“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, and eventually I was ready to have my day in court,” the man said in the statement of claim, the newspaper reported.
“But when I was told they had withdrawn the case I felt empty, and that an injustice had occurred.”
The alleged victim, reportedly now 50 years old, will also sue the trustees of Nazareth House which ran St Joseph’s Boys Home where he was a ward, Victoria state and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in a lawsuit to be filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
He is seeking damages for psychiatric injury, loss of wages and medical expenses, The Australian reported.
A Supreme Court of Victoria spokesman said it had yet to received any filing in the matter.
News of Pell’s conviction which emerged last week is expected to encourage victims of alleged sex abuse by other clergy to come forward.
Pell, who helped elect popes and ran the Vatican’s finances, was found guilty by a trial jury on one count of sexual abuse and four counts of indecent assault of two boys.