Government - Police Considering Legal Action Against Cardinal Pell
Victoria police are considering charging Cardinal George Pell over sexual assault allegations dating back to the late 1970s. Australia's most senior Roman Catholic cleric is currently serving as Vatican finance chief.
The allegations came from two men who are now in their 40s. They accuse Pell of groping them during the summer of 1978 -1979 at the Eureka pool in Ballarat, VIC where the cleric grew up and worked.
Last year, police flew to Rome to interview Pell about the allegations. He had already issued a statement denying the charges, describing them as a "scandalous smear campaign". Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions has considered the evidence and handed its recommendations over to police, who have indicated it would "take time" to review the advice.
Should authorities go ahead and charge Cardinal Pell, getting him to come back to face charges could be difficult. "We don't have and extradition treaty with the Vatican and potentially someone in Cardinal Pell's position would be entitled to some sort of diplomatic immunity," said lawyer Vivian Waller to the ABC. "I imagine there would be complex questions that arise if in fact Victoria Police do charge."