Child molester Cardinal George Pell will almost certainly be jailed

Child molester Cardinal George Pell will almost certainly be jailed February 26, 2019

AUSTRALIAN Cardinal George Pell, 77 – the Vatican treasurer and a close adviser to Pope Francis – is almost certain to face prison when he is brought to court in March to be sentenced for one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of an indecent act with or in the presence of a child in the late 1990s.

Cardinal George Pell. Image via YouTube

Last year he became the most senior Catholic official to be found guilty of child sex offences to date, but the news wasn’t reported in Australia at the time because of a reporting restriction imposed by Chief Judge Peter Kidd.

But this week the judge lifted the restriction and the extent of the abuse was immediately revealed. News outlets around the globe are leading with reports of the trial.

The prosecution’s case hinged on the testimony of one man, who said Pell sexually abused him and another boy in Melbourne’s historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral after mass.

The second victim later died from a drug overdose having never revealed the abuse to anyone. The surviving accuser can not be identified under Australian law governing sex abuse victims.

In court the accuser told the jury how Pell, then Archbishop of Melbourne, discovered the two choirboys drinking wine in the priest’s sacristy, a small room at the back of the cathedral.

He claimed Pell forced one of the boys to perform oral sex on him and performed an indecent act on his friend. One month later, the victim said Pell pushed him up against a wall and groped his genitals.

Under Australian law, all details of the first trial, including its existence, were suppressed last year due to concerns they could prejudice future juries.

The court order was lifted after the crown prosecutor chose to not proceed with a planned second trial into further child sex allegations against Pell.

Pell has repeatedly maintained his innocence. His legal team confirmed on Tuesday they had filed an appeal against the guilty verdict.

The Vatican has yet to comment on the verdict. Pope Francis quietly removed Pell from his small council of advisors for “reasons of advancing age” in December, before the news of the cardinal’s conviction became public.

The cardinal never took the stand in his own defence but a video of his meeting with Australian detectives in Rome in 2016 was played to the court.

In the video, Pell said the charges were “the products of fantasy.” When asked whether he’d forced a boy to perform oral sex he said it was:

A deranged falsehood. What a load of absolute and disgraceful rubbish. Completely false. Madness.

Pell looked shocked when the “guilty” verdict was read out on December 11 after the jury had deliberated for three and a half days.

It was the second time Pell had faced court on this set of charges. An earlier, unreported trial in August had resulted in a hung jury after almost six days of deliberations.

The lifted reporting restrictions could not have come at a worse time for the Pope, who has been heavily criticised for remarks he made at the conclusion of a four-day Vatican abuse summit.

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  • barriejohn

    “One rotten apple.” (Irony)

  • epeeist
  • barriejohn

    Would that be Rupert Murdoch, Papal Knight, and, by sheer coincidence, massive donor to the Catholic Church?

  • MR

    I’ve noticed that Fox News hasn’t been reporting much on this scandal.

  • Bubblecar

    Unfortunately there’s still a lot of suspense left in this case – there’s an “appeal” to be heard, although what his defence can find to complain about after two trials, the last of which featured three whole days of defence “summing up”, is anyone’s guess.

    But beware, the Catholic octopus has tentacles everywhere, and there may yet be insiders in the judiciary who can find a way to let this rat run free. Also, he hasn’t yet been sentenced, and the judge may find pressure for leniency coming from corners that the public will never know about.

  • Broga

    Why did he return to Australia? He could have skulked in some cosy nook, surrounded by reverential nuns, supposedly in prayer and the world told the accusations were “fantasy” – his word. That is the usual exit as the paedophile criminal priests run for cover. With a previous trial resulting in no decision he could have brazened his way to a residue of respectability. And there are plenty of gullible “people of faith.”

    But he couldn’t. Vanity, arrogance, a lifetime of being revered, of power meant he was convinced he would lie his way to the verdict going his way. The thought of the stain of doubt was something he could not accept. He leaves a trail of broken lives which will never mend. The exposure of what he, and it would seem thousands of others did over the years, are utterly repellent. What has not been revealed is so much else that remains. I assume that the details of how he forced a boy to suck his prick were enough to get him found guilty. And yet he looked shocked when the guilty verdict came in.

    Will he win on appeal?