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.


Italy’s Lombardy region to impose virus curfew

Updated 30 min 32 sec ago

Italy’s Lombardy region to impose virus curfew

  • The curfew from 11pm to 5am is expected to begin on Thursday night and last to November 13
  • More than 10,000 new Covid-19 infections were recorded in Italy on Friday for the time ever

ROME: Italy’s northern Lombardy region prepared Tuesday to impose a nighttime curfew, the most restrictive anti-coronavirus measure the country has seen since emerging from a national lockdown in the spring.
The curfew from 11pm (2100GMT) to 5am is expected to begin on Thursday night and last to November 13.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza gave his consent late Monday to the more restrictive measure proposed by the regional government, after an hours-long meeting.
“It’s an appropriate and symbolically important initiative that shouldn’t have particularly serious economic consequences,” Regional President Attilio Fontana said in the newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday.
More than 10,000 new Covid-19 infections were recorded in Italy on Friday for the time ever, with Lombardy the hardest hit region, as it was in the beginning of the health crisis in February.
The region, which includes Italy’s financial hub of Milan, reported 1,687 new cases on Monday, with Italy’s southern Campania region coming a close second with 1,593.
Since Italy became the first hard-hit European country earlier this year, more than 36,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the country.
On Saturday, Lombardy ordered its bars to shut at midnight and prohibited the consumption of food and drink in public outside areas.
Italy has put in place recent restrictions to try to stem the new wave of infections, but none have so far imposed a curfew.
They include banning amateur contact sports, such as football matches, school trips, and restricting bars and restaurants to table service after 6pm.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he does not envision another country-wide lockdown, which would further sap Italy’s struggling economy, but has said that he would not rule out limited ones.
Lombardy’s curfew is expected to only allow people to leave their home for reasons of health, work or necessity.
The new decree will also call for large shopping centers to be shut on weekends, according to Italian media reports.