A fish rots from the head down: Top Vatican official Cardinal George Pell has been convicted of sexually abusing minors by a criminal court in Australia.
According to multiple reports, Cardinal Pell, who is the Vatican’s third most powerful official and a close advisor to Pope Francis, was convicted in Australia on charges that he sexually abused two choir boys in the late 1990s.
The Daily Beast reports:
The Vatican’s third most powerful official has been convicted in Australia on all charges he sexually abused two choir boys there in the late ’90s…
A unanimous jury returned its verdict for Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday (Australian time) after more than three days of deliberations…
The Inquisitor reports:
Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third most powerful official, was found guilty on Tuesday of sexually abusing two choir boys in the late 1990s, a decision that makes him the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to face criminal convictions.
Pell is Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, and a close adviser and friend to Pope Francis. He is the highest ranking Vatican official to ever go on trial for sex abuse, and he is now the highest ranking Vatican official to be convicted of crimes concerning sexual abuse.
Pell took leave of his position at the Vatican last year to stand trial in Melbourne, where he was accused of sexually abusing two choir boys when he was the archbishop.
According to reports the victims were alter boys in the choir at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were sexually abused by Pell inside the church.
The Catholic News Agency reports Pell will be sentenced in early 2019 and will not be incarcerated prior to his sentencing.
In addition to being found guilty of molesting the choir boys at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pell is also accused of sexually assaulting two boys in a swimming pool in Ballarat, Victoria. A criminal trial concerning that case is expected to begin early next year.
Pell has denied all accusations of inappropriate conduct and claims he is innocent. He is expected to appeal his conviction.
In the past Pell has shown little sympathy for the survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy, and is on record claiming:
The Catholic Church is no more legally responsible for priests who abuse children than a trucking company which employs a driver who molests women.
Bottom line: Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third most powerful official and a close adviser to Pope Francis, has been convicted of sexually abusing two choir boys at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia.