Disgraced Australian Cardinal Pell faces new legal battle over failure to report abuse

Cardinal George Pell leaving the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne on June 6, 2019.
Cardinal George Pell leaving the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne on June 6, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (AFP) - Disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell is facing fresh legal woes after being named in a civil suit alleging he failed to protect victims of a priest he knew was abusing children.

The civil case was filed in the Victoria state Supreme Court on Friday (June 7) by a man who said he suffered abuse at the hands of Christian Brother Edward "Ted" Dowan when he was a student at a Melbourne college in the early 1980s, local media reported.

Pell, who was the episcopal vicar for education in the regional hub of Ballarat at the time, is accused of allowing Dowan to be moved from school to school despite allegedly having knowledge of his crimes.

"Pell has to answer not only for his own crimes but for crimes of other priests and brothers which he enabled by allowing them to be shuffled from school to school and parish to parish," The Australian newspaper quoted the victim's lawyer Michael Magazanik as saying.

The civil case names Pell, the Catholic Education Commission, Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird and Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli, the Australian reported.

The case has been set for mediation later this year.

Pell is currently appealing against his own conviction on historical sex charges.


He was found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996 and 1997 in the sacristy and hallways of St Patrick's Cathedral when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

The former Vatican No. 3, who controlled the Holy See's vast finances and was involved in the election of two popes, was sentenced in March to six years in prison.

On Thursday, three judges adjourned after two days of arguments to deliberate over the appeal.