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An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.
Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to “historical child sexual offenses.”
In related news:
Pope Francis has terminated the services of three cardinals who for the past five years were members of his council of nine cardinal advisors. Two of them have been embroiled in the sexual abuse of minors scandal in their respective countries—Cardinal George Pell in Australia and Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz in Chile—while the third, Cardinal Laurent Monswengo Pasinya of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has almost reached the age of 80 and has not participated in recent meetings.
Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See’s Press office, made the announcement today in a briefing at the end of the 27th meeting of the council of cardinal advisors, which was held at the Vatican over the past three days.
Stay tuned …