Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher has come forward to defend his fellow Cardinal George Pell and criticized the investigation pattern, calling it a “trial by media.”
The comment has come following ABC’s 7:30 program where the top Vatican official was investigated over Victoria child sex abuse allegations. “The allegations against Cardinal George Pell aired on the ABC’s 7:30 Report that were extremely distressing for all parties are as yet untested and have been emphatically denied,” Archbishop Anthony Fisher said in a statement. “The community deserves the rule of law be respected. Trial by media benefits no one.”
Although victims have come forward in the hearings to prove Pell’s involvement in the crime, the cardinal has constantly been denying the allegations. He has always stuck to his statement of the claims being “totally untrue and completely wrong.” Reports have indicated that the investigation is being continued in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne to find out the hidden details.
Meanwhile, a statement has been released by the office of Pell that denied the allegations and called the issue “nothing more than a scandalous smear campaign.” “If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the royal commission by now,” the statement said.
The cardinal’s office said that the ABC has no right to damage the reputation of innocent people, including Pell. There are many, the allegations against whom have not yet been tested and proven by the court. Hence, the “presumption of innocence” should be made, the office statement said on Thursday.
The Guardian reported that the complaints made by victims against Pell were about the event that occurred between the 1970s and 80s.
The ABC undertook the investigation using eight police documents based on the statements recorded by victims, witnesses and family members. The defending statement from Fisher said that the allegations did not belong to the “George Pell I know.”