Australia’s Cardinal Pell sued for alleged child abuse in 1970s

Australian Cardinal George Pell holds a candle as Pope Francis leads the Easter vigil mass in Saint Peter's basilica at the Vatican, April 15, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 March 2019

Australia’s Cardinal Pell sued for alleged child abuse in 1970s

  • Local media had reported one alleged victim in the Ballarat case was upset the criminal case was dropped and planned to take civil action

MELBOURNE: Convicted Australian Cardinal George Pell faced a fresh legal challenge Thursday, after a civil suit was filed against him for further alleged abuse in the 1970s.
Pell — the most senior Vatican official to be found guilty of child sex crimes — is currently in detention awaiting sentencing for assaulting two choirboys in Melbourne in the 1990s.
He maintains his innocence and an appeal is scheduled for June.
Pell had also faced trial on charges of abusing boys in a swimming pool in his home town of Ballarat in Victoria state, decades before, but the case was dropped by Australian prosecutors after his conviction.
Local media had reported one alleged victim in the Ballarat case was upset the criminal case was dropped and planned to take civil action.
Victoria Supreme Court officials said Thursday that the plaintiff — who cannot be named for legal reasons — lodged the suit Wednesday against Pell, authorities in Victoria, child services and the Sisters of Nazareth which ran the boys’ home where he lived at the time.
The court did not release further details of the suit.
Pell has been accused of fondling the boy’s genitals while playing a game in the swimming pool.
Pell’s lawyers had argued that the alleged victim, now aged around 50, lied and that if there was touching, it was purely accidental.
The plaintiff is seeking damages for psychiatric injury, loss of wages and medical expenses, The Australian newspaper reported.


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 5 min 47 sec ago

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”