Telegraph News Cardinal George Pell accused of 'grabbing' young boys at swimming pool in latest scandal to hit Vatican

Telegraph News Cardinal George Pell accused of 'grabbing' young boys at swimming pool in latest scandal to hit Vatican

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney  The Telegraph 28 JULY 2016 • 2:09PM

Cardinal George Pell, one of the most powerful figures in the Vatican and Australia's most senior Catholic cleric, is facing a police investigation over an alleged series of child sexual assaults, including claims he inappropriately “grabbed” boys at a swimming pool in the state of Victoria.

In a statement issued by his office in Rome, Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief, emphatically denied the allegations, accusing police and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation of “conspiring” to destroy his reputation.

 He accused police of illegally leaking “inaccurate and unfounded” allegations.

"I have done nothing wrong," he said. “I bear no ill will and have no desire to cause them [the alleged victims] harm but what they say about me is not true.”

Two former students at St Alipius, a school in the town of Ballarat, have publicly accused the cardinal of abuse dating back to the 1970s during sessions at a local swimming pool. Cardinal Pell was responsible for education in the area and regularly visited the students.

“He would play games like throw the kids out of the water,” Lyndon Monument, a former student, told ABC.

“You know, his hand touching your genitals and stuff on the outside of your bathers or shorts. And then that showily became hand down the front of the pants or your bathers or whatever you call them.”

Damian Dignan, another student, said Cardinal Pell would “grab you - around the testes.

“It got to a stage where every time he picked you up, it was there,” he said.

Darren Mooney, another student, said Cardinal Pell would regularly appear naked in the dressing rooms.

“A man in his position should know better than to be undressing in front of kids,” he said.

Police in Victoria confirmed they have been investigating allegations against Cardinal Pell for a year...

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