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High-Ranking Catholic Official Cardinal George Pell Convicted For Child Sex Abuse

  • IWB Post
  •  February 26, 2019

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and the Vatican’s economy minister, has been found guilty of child sexual abuse as he molested two choirboys after celebrating Mass in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996.

The offences occurred in December 1996 and early 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, months after Pell was inaugurated as archbishop of Melbourne. Praised for his honesty by Pope Francis, Pell throughout described the accusations against him as “vile and disgusting conduct” saying it was against everything he believed in. “The allegations involve vile and disgusting conduct contrary to everything I hold dear and contrary to the explicit teachings of the church which I have spent my life representing,” he said.

Pell was arrested in June 2017 where he said, “There’s been relentless character assassination. I’m looking forward finally to having my day in court. I’m innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”

The 34-year-old survivor, recollecting the incident, told the court that he was orally raped by Pell.“I didn’t tell anyone at the time because I didn’t want to jeopardize anything. I didn’t want to rock the boat with my family, my schooling, my life,” he told the jurors.

The victim feared to make accusations against a powerful churchman as he would have lost his place in the choir and his scholarship to the prestigious St. Kevins College.

“Like many survivors, I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life. At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust,” he said in a statement released via his lawyer.

The other victim lost his life due to over-consumption of heroin in 2014 without filing any complaint against the accused, denying to his mother that he had been molested.

A day after his conviction in December, a Vatican office announced that Cardinal Pell had been removed from the Council of Cardinals, a papal advisory group in October. Pell is due to face a sentencing hearing from Wednesday but he has lodged an appeal against his conviction.

H/T: The Hindu


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