Australian Media No Longer Gagged, Details Of Pell Abuse Revealed
Australians can now be told that Cardinal George Pell is guilty of historical sexual abuse against two 13-year-old choir boys.
While a suppression order gagged the mainstream media from reporting on the guilty verdicts, the result was already widely reported in international websites and publications.
After deliberating for three days, a jury returned its verdicts on December 11 2018. Almost immediately, George Pell became a trending topic on Twitter. That same week Pell’s Wikipedia page was modified, the first line correctly stated he is, “ the church’s most senior official to be convicted of a sexual offence.”
The media ban was lifted in Victoria's County Court this morning. It had been in place to prevent another case against Pell from being compromised by the publicity.
The first trial which ran for five weeks was dubbed ‘the Cathedral trial.”
They convicted Pell of all charges before them, four of committing an indecent act, and one of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16.
The case centred around the evidence of one victim.
The second victim the Cardinal was convicted of abusing died five years ago, he'd never made an official complaint.
Both boys were aged 13 at the time of the abuse.
The man testified that Pell discovered him and another choir boy inside St Patricks Cathedral, in the 1990s.
At the time, Pell was Archbishop of Melbourne.
The jury was told after Pell had finished presiding over Sunday mass, he found the two young boys in the priest's sacristy.
They were swigging sacramental wine when they were discovered.
The victim said Pell said, "what are you doing here?" or "you're in trouble", then Pell immediately abused his friend, before turning to him.
Pell was also convicted of groping the victim who gave evidence, on a separate occasion, again inside St Patrick’s.
It was estimated the first incident lasted six minutes.
The victim explained it had taken decades for him to make a complaint.
“It felt like an anomaly,” he said, “so foreign and I was in shock, I just didn’t tell them. “
“I was young and I didn’t really know what had happened to me.”
“I didn’t really know what it was if it was normal.”
He said he’d feared reporting the abuse would jeopardise his Catholic education.
Pell has always strenuously denied the charges. The jury heard it was Pell’s practice to mix with parishioners on the front steps of the Cathedral after solemn Sunday mass. Those who had roles in Sunday mass were called to give evidence, including the choir Marshall and the organist, no one else had seen the boys break away from the procession of choristers.
When Victorian detectives travelled to Rome to interview the Cardinal, he told them the accusations were a fantasy. Australia has no extradition treaty with the Vatican City.
Pell voluntarily returned to Australia to face the charges. He publicly declared he was looking forward to having his day in court. He must have believed it wouldn’t like this. It is expected he will be sentenced to jail time.
His barrister, Robert Richter QC, has indicated the Cardinal has already lodged papers in the Court of Appeal to appeal to his convictions.
To speak to somebody about sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or the Kids Helpline (ages 5 to 25) on 1800 55 1800.