WATCH: Pell's Reaction When Police Interrogate Him About Choirboy Rape
The police interview took place almost two and a half years ago, but only now is the world able to see Cardinal George Pell scoff at, and vehemently deny, that he raped a former choirboy.
"Oh, stop it," Pell told Victoria Police Detective Sergeant Christopher Reed as he sat, arms crossed, next to his lawyer while sucking on a lolly.
Reed was then instructed by the Cardinal to continue describing the allegations.
“What a load of absolute and disgraceful rubbish. Completely false. Madness,” an outraged Pell said as he cringed and looked away.
It was October 2016 and the men were sitting across a table from each other in a conference room at a hotel near Rome airport.
The meeting took place about an hour's drive from Vatican City, where Pell lived and worked as one of the Pope's most trusted advisers.
As a Vatican diplomat, Australian police had no jurisdiction to question Pell, however the interview took place after negotiations between the Cardinal and detectives.
Reed was there to deliver the allegations: that in the second half of 1996, while Pell was archbishop of Melbourne, he had encountered two choirboys in the priest’s sacristy of St Patrick’s cathedral after Sunday solemn mass.
Reed replied: “It’s alleged you stepped forward and grabbed [a boy] by his head and forced his head on to your penis.”
Again Pell interrupted: “Completely false.”
“You don’t have to comment at this stage,” Reed replied. “I can continue on.”
"This is in the sacristy at the cathedral after Sunday mass?" Pell asked the detective. "Well, need I say anymore? What a load of garbage and falsehood and deranged falsehood.
"The sacristy after mass is generally a hive of activity.
"You could scarcely imagine a place [where someone] was more unlikely to be committing paedophilia crimes than a sacristy at the cathedral after mass.
"All sorts of people used to come to the sacristy to speak to the priest."
Pell told the detective that his Master of Ceremonies would be able to say that he was always with him after the ceremonies until they went back to the car park or back to the presbytery.
This video was played to the Victorian County Court during two separate five-week trials last year, as the Cardinal fought charges relating to the choirboys.
Pell did not give evidence during the trial and so the recording was the only time the jurors heard from the man himself.
The Cardinal was also shown photos of the choirboys involved.
"I didn't know any kids in the choir in '96," Pell said, and handed the photos back to Reed.
READ MORE: Statement From Cardinal George Pell
The footage also shows that Pell read a prepared statement before the detectives had elaborated on the allegations against him:
“I have to rely on the law and my conscience, which says that I am innocent, and I have to rely on the integrity of investigators not setting out to make a case but actually searching for the truth.”
Pell also said he would give police a list of names of people to interview, who he said would speak “authoritatively” about his conduct in 1996 and 1997, when the offences occurred.
At the end of the interview, Reed asked Pell if he had anything more to say in response to possible future charges.
“That I’m certainly not guilty,” he said.
READ MORE: The Cardinal's Legacy: Crime And Cover-Up
In December, Pell was found guilty of five charges -- one of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 and four of committing an indecent act. The verdict was made public on Tuesday following the lifting of a suppression order.
The verdict relates to two different incidents that took place when he was the archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell abused two choirboys at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral after celebrating one of his first Sunday masses as archbishop. He then abused one of the boys for a second time, a couple of months later.
He will be sentenced on March 13. His lawyer, Robert Richter QC, has already lodged papers in the Court of Appeal to overturn the verdict.
To speak to somebody about sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or the Kids Helpline (ages 5 to 25) on 1800 55 1800.