‘I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression’: George Pell’s victim speaks

Australia

The victim at the centre of the Cardinal George Pell abuse case has spoken out publicly for the first time.

On Tuesday, it was revealed Pell was convicted last December of five child sex offences committed in the mid-1990s.

One victim died in 2014 in accidental circumstances but the other, now in his 30s and unable to be named, has released a statement detailing the abuse.

“Like many survivors I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life,” he said.

Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has been convicted of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996.

Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has been convicted of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996.

AAP

“At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust. I would like to thank my family near and far for their support of me, and of each other.”

The man asked the media to respect his privacy.

“I am not a spokesperson about child sexual abuse … I am just a regular guy working to support and protect my family as best I can,” he said.

Details of the case

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic had sexually assaulted a choir boy in the 1990s and molested another.

The victims were 13-year-old boys on scholarships to the prestigious St Kevin’s College.

That verdict in the case was made public after months of procedural secrecy, and the abandonment of a second trial over allegations Pell indecently assaulted boys in Ballarat in the 1970s.

The pair “nicked off” after a Sunday solemn mass in late 1996 and were caught swigging sacramental wine in the priest’s sacristy by Pell, newly installed as Archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell scolded them, exposed his penis from beneath the ornate ceremonial robes, and molested them.

Cardinal George Pell was quietly dropped from Pope Francis' inner circle after he was charged.

Cardinal George Pell was quietly dropped from Pope Francis’ inner circle after he was charged.

AAP

A Melbourne jury in December found Pell guilty of five charges – one of sexually penetrating a child and four of committing indecent acts with children.

Pell has maintained his innocence over all allegations and has lodged an appeal of his conviction.

Those seeking information or support relating to child sexual assault can contact Bravehearts on 1800 272 831 or Blue Knot on 1300 657 380. Lifeline is available 24 hours a day on 13 11 14.

Additional reporting: AAP

Full victim statement

Thank you for your interest in this case.

Like many survivors I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life.

At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust. I would like to thank my family near and far for their support of me, and of each other.

I am witness in a case brought by the state of Victoria. I have put my trust in the police and the criminal justice system. The process has been stressful and it is not over yet.

I need space and time to cope with the ongoing criminal process. I understand this is a big news story but please don’t reveal my identity.

I ask that the media respect my privacy. I don’t want to give any interviews. Please don’t come to my home. I want to protect my young family and my parents. I don’t want them swept into the spotlight.

I am not a spokesperson about child sexual abuse. There are many other survivors and advocates who bravely fill this role.

I am just a regular guy working to support and protect my family as best I can. Thank you for your support and understanding.

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