Accusations against Pell of sexual abuse
In June 2002, Pell was accused of having sexually abused a 12-year-old boy at a Roman Catholic youth camp in 1961 whilst a seminarian. Pell vigorously denied all the accusations and stood aside as soon as the allegations were made public, but he did not resign as archbishop. The complainant agreed to pursue his allegations through the church's own process for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, the National Committee for Professional Standards (NCPS). Justice A.J. Southwell, hired by the church to investigate the matter, found that the complainant gave the impression of "speaking honestly from actual recollection". Justice Southwell concluded, however, that notwithstanding this impression, he could not regard the complaint as established:
Pell claimed to have been exonerated, while the complainant's solicitor said his client had been vindicated.
In February 2016, it was reported that Pell had been under investigation for the past year by Victoria Police over multiple child molestation allegations. Pell issued an immediate and vehement denial. It was reported that Detectives in Victoria wanted to fly to the Vatican to interview Pell regarding the allegations, which were of the sexual abuse of "up to 10 minors between 1978 and 2001", and were waiting for "senior figures to 'give them the go-ahead'". Frank Brennan SJ, AO criticised the timing of the media report, saying that it may undermine the Royal Commission proceedings.