Elated crowds cheer as Cardinal Pell loses High Court appeal

Elated crowds cheer as Cardinal Pell loses High Court appeal August 21, 2019

‘A wonderful day for survivors’ is how one woman greeted news today that Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has lost his appeal against his conviction for abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. 

Images via Wikimedia CC and 9News.com.au

One survivor, pictured above, told a reporter in this video:

This is outstanding news. Now we can officially say ‘Pell is a criminal, Pell is a paedophile, Pell is a destroyer, a maimer of young children.’ He’s a pathetic human being, a pig of a man and we are elated.

Pell was jailed for six years in March. The former Vatican treasurer, 78, will now consider a final appeal in the nation’s highest court.

In a brief statement issued after the decision the Vatican reiterated that Pell maintained his innocence, and that it was now:

Pell’s right to appeal to the high court. At this time, together with the church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members who commit such abuse

No mention was made of stripping Pell of his cardinal title.

The scene outside the court. Image via YouTube.

The BBC reports that Pell’s surviving victim, who cannot be named, said he was:

Grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in. My journey has not been an easy one. It has been all the more stressful because it involved a high-profile figure.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters:

My sympathies are with the victims of child sexual abuse. Not just on this day, but on every single day.

He said Pell was likely to be stripped of his Order of Australia honour.

Pell’s lawyers said they would “thoroughly examine” the judgement to make a possible last-ditch appeal in the High Court of Australia. However, there is no guarantee that the court will agree to hear the case.

Pell challenged the verdict by arguing it was “unreasonable” because there was insufficient evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

His lawyers said the jury had relied too heavily on the “uncorroborated evidence” of the sole surviving victim.

Pell was archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 when he found the two boys on cathedral premises and sexually assaulted them. He abused one of the boys again in 1997. One of his victims died of a drug overdose in 2014.

The two judges who upheld the conviction said that they “did not experience a doubt” about the verdict.

When the news filtered through to campaigners and survivors of abuse outside, there was a loud cheer.

Earlier this year, in a rant against a Rolling Stone report of the Pell case, Bill Donohue, above, of the Catholic League, wrote:

Cardinal Pell is the poster boy for Catholic-hating secularists, not only in his home country but around the world. They hate him for his orthodoxy and the fact that he was, until recently, the third most senior cleric in the Catholic Church. No matter, he will go down in history as the biggest scapegoat for clergy sexual abuse in the history of the Catholic Church.

In another piece he exhorted Catholic to pray for Pell:

Keep Cardinal George Pell in your prayers. It is not easy for any priest, never mind a high-ranking one, to get a fair trial today. The hysteria and the animus that exist makes for a toxic environment.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brian Curtis

    He said Pell was likely to be stripped of his Order of Australia honour.

    Well, that seems a bit harsh. Its not like Pell participated in a climate-change demonstration or offered shelter to refugees or something.

  • Raging Bee

    …the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members who commit such abuse…

    And once again, Bill Donohue proves the Holy See’s words false.

  • Tawreos

    Cardinal Pell is the poster boy for Catholic-hating secularists, not only in his home country but around the world. They hate him for his orthodoxy and the fact that he was, until recently, the third most senior cleric in the Catholic Church.

    That most of us never heard of until the allegations came out that he has now been convicted of, so try again.

  • Matt G

    For crying out loud, Pell’s own lawyers acknowledged his guilt with their “plain vanilla” comment. Donohue seems to forget that the “enemies” of the CC did not create this crisis – the CC did it to itself.

  • Michael Neville

    The Catholic League, which consists of Bill Donohue and his internet connection, has always maintained that no Catholic clergy have ever raped or abused children and it was the lascivious children seducing naive priests which caused it.

  • Broga

    ” its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members who commit such abuse.” The Holy See hasn’t had much success with its “competent ecclesiastical authorities” so far.

  • WallofSleep

    I can’t think of a more odious person than Billdo.

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    so pell is banged up for a few years and his victims will suffer for the rest of theirs mean while in cloud cuckoo land bill still claims he was purs as the driven snow I cant decide who I hate the most the abusers or their defenders

  • CoastalMaineBird

    the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse
    I don’t know – it seems to me they are pretty close to the victims.

  • Jim Jones

    > No mention was made of stripping Pell of his cardinal title.

    Although the Pope kept rabbiting on about gossip, so . .

  • Jim Jones

    Or suggested married or women priests.

  • Bubblecar

    Pell is unlikely to attract any sympathy from the High Court, since their record in cases like this is to side with the victims. In fact I was rather surprised that the Victorian appeal court rejected the appeal, as based on recent form I was expecting them to uphold it, and then the High Court to reject it. As it stands, I would be surprised if the High Court would be willing to even hear an appeal.

  • Person223

    Maybe now they’ve convicted enough Catholic clergy members and they start dealing with the much more prevalent problem of sexual abuse in America’s public schools.

  • John Logan

    Reminds of the cheering crowds when they condemned Jesus, or the crowds when Christians were thrown before the lions.

  • John Logan

    Actually that was in the context of a sentencing hearing where the laywer and Judge have to accept the jury verdict.