In this Sept. 14, 2004 file photo, the then Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell celebrates a special mass in Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral. Pell, now the Vatican's third-most-powerful official, has been dogged for years by allegations that he mishandled the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in his native Australia, and now the scrutiny is more intense than ever. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
In this Sept. 14, 2004 file photo, the then Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell celebrates a special mass in Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral. Pell, now the Vatican's third-most-powerful official, has been dogged for years by allegations that he mishandled the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in his native Australia, and now the scrutiny is more intense than ever. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File) Rick Rycroft

Pell knew of abuse in 80s: witness

CARDINAL George Pell was allegedly overheard discussing convicted pedophile priest Gerald Risdale "rooting young boys" in the 1980s - before he was made a bishop.

The witness known as BWE told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse he had overheard a conversation between Father Pell, who was a priest at Ballarat at the time, and Father Frank Madden .

BWE said Father Madden asked Cardinal Pell "How are things going down your way?".

He said Cardinal Pell replied "I think Gerry has been rooting young boys again".

Cardinal Pell's lawyer Sam Duggan  suggested BWE must be wrong due to the coarse language.

"That has never been language that Father Pell has ever used," Mr Duggan said. "It's simply something he would not say."

Father Pell was made an auxiliary bishop in 1987 and cardinal in 2003.

- APN NEWSDESK



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