Cardinal Pell, most senior Catholic charged with child sex abuse, convicted

Australian Cardinal George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court Oct. 6. (CNS photo/Mark Dadswell, Reuters)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass, dealing a new blow to the Catholic hierarchy's credibility after a year of global revelations of abuse and cover-up.

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser and the Vatican's economy minister, bowed his head but then regained his composure as the 12-member jury delivered unanimous verdicts in the Victoria state County Court on Dec. 11 after more than two days of deliberation.

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The court had until Tuesday forbidden publication of any details about the trial.

The convictions were confirmed the same week that Francis concluded his extraordinary summit of Catholic leaders summoned to Rome for a tutorial on preventing clergy sexual abuse and protecting children from predator priests.

The jury convicted Pell of abusing two 13-year-old boys whom he had caught swigging sacramental wine in a rear room of Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in late 1996, as hundreds of worshippers were streaming out of Sunday services.

Pell, now 77 but 55 at the time, had just been named the most senior Catholic in Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne.

The jury also found Pell guilty of indecently assaulting one of the boys in a corridor more than a month later.

He faces a potential maximum 50-year prison term after a sentencing hearing that begins on Wednesday. He has foreshadowed an appeal.

Pell had maintained his innocence throughout, describing the accusations as "vile and disgusting conduct" that went against everything he believed in.

His lawyer Robert Richter had told the jury that only a "mad man" would take the risk of abusing boys in such a public place. He said it was "laughable" that Pell would have been able to expose his penis and force the victim to take it in his mouth, given the cumbersome robes he was wearing.

Both he and Chief Judge Peter Kidd urged the jury of eight men and four women not to punish Pell for all the failings of the Catholic Church.

"You must not scapegoat Cardinal Pell," Kidd told the jury.

Pell, who walked to and from court throughout his monthlong trial with a crutch under his right arm, was released on bail to undergo surgical knee replacements in Sydney on Dec. 14. Prosecutor Mark Gibson did not oppose bail, saying the surgery would be more easily managed outside the prison system.

Kidd warned that the continuing bail was not a sign that the 77-year-old would avoid a prison sentence.

The first four offenses occurred at the first or second Solemn Mass that Archbishop Pell celebrated as leader of the magnificent blue-stone century-old cathedral in the center of Melbourne. Pell was wearing his full robes — though not his staff or pointed bishops' hat — at the time.

The now 34-year-old survivor told the court that Pell orally raped him, then crouched and fondled the complainant's genitals while masturbating.

The other victim died of a heroin overdose in 2014 without ever complaining of the abuse, and even denying to his suspicious mother that he had been molested while he was part of the choir.

Neither boy can be identified.

More than a month later, the complainant testified that Pell pushed him against a cathedral corridor wall after a mass and squeezed the boy's genitals painfully before walking away in silence.

"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," the complainant told the jurors.

The complainant testified that he feared that making such accusations against a powerful church man would cost him his place in the choir and with it his scholarship to prestigious St. Kevin's College.

Pell pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of willfully committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under 16 in late 1996 and early 1997.

Pell did not testify at his trial. But the jury saw a video recording of an interview he gave Australian detectives in Rome in 2016 in which he stridently denied the allegations.

Pell grimaced, appeared incredulous, distressed, waved his arms over his head and muttered to himself as the detectives detailed the accusations that his victim had leveled against him a year earlier.

"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," Pell told police.

Richter, Pell's lawyer, had told the jury that the media had portrayed Pell as the "Darth Vader" of the church, referring to the "Star Wars" character.

The complainant testified that he and his friend had run from the procession and back into the cathedral through a side door to, as Gibson said, "have some fun."

___

Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to the report.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Phillip Stone
6 months 3 weeks ago

No jury in Australia could have been assembled without the majority of its members already convinced that the sex abuse of minors was terrible and someone had to be punished.
Pell is a blunt character, does not suffer fools gladly, and was like the perfect candidate chosen by central casting to play the villain.

He is the ONLY Catholic Church official to set up a system to deal with abuse properly and candidly and did so as soon as he was appointed to the level of power which enabled him to do so. It was flawed, it was a first attempt and it was improved upon.

This is another miscarriage of justice in the annals of Australian jurisprudence, you all know how a grief stricken and distraught mother was convicted of murdering her baby when it was really taken by a dingo. The thing they have in common is the lack of lovableness in the public eye, their personalities did not evoke sympathy in ordinary people.

Jeffrey Dalton
6 months 3 weeks ago

A shocking and heart rending tragedy for all concerned and yet again so much of the commentary is sensationalised around the perpetrator and not the lives of the victims. This leads to vicious comments such as the case being a 'set-up' and part of an anti-Catholic conspiracy, despite the trial judge giving the accused every possible protection. It was a unanimous verdict of 12 randomly chosen citizens in a rule-of-law nation. Their decision must be respected. The appeal might be successful, who knows? Until then we must accept their judgment. And always, always, think of the victims and their loved ones.

Christopher Scott
6 months 3 weeks ago

The sexual abuses and debauchery lifestyles have been so pervasive an common place within the clergy and church hierarchy that its guilty until proven innocent as far as the laity is concerned with the bar set extremely high to prove ones innocence. If the church doesn’t clean this mess up and out it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to recruit seminarians in the future, priests will be 1 accusation away from trading their priestly garb for prison garb. The clergy and Bishops have nobody to blame but themselves.

Jesusa Quinto-Cantos
6 months 3 weeks ago

With all these fake news and sensational media, how do we know the truth? Do we even know if these boys were telling the truth? Did we even think that if some children are punished or disciplined they retaliate by accusing their guardian of sex abuse? I'm sure there are cases where sex abuse really took place but we should be careful also for the Priests who are wrongly accused. At the end of the day, God is ultimately the judge and he is not asleep. I hope everybody knows that.

Crystal Watson
6 months 3 weeks ago

Pell has been a super conservative, responsible for the awful missal translation, for attacking the primacy of conscience, etc., and conservatives will support him now. But he has a terrible history with sex abuse in Australia. He was responsible with the Ellis case for basically making it impossible for Australians to sue the church. The pope's own sex abuse commission told him not to hire Pell and that he was a sociopath. Journalist David Marr wrote a book about Pell and gave a talk on ABC about him and his history with sex abuse ... https://youtu.be/aYz4gn-HlDY

Tim O'Leary
6 months 3 weeks ago

Crystal - Saunders did not say Pell was a sociopath. You are misquoting. Moreover, it seems you wanted Pell convicted no matter if he did the crime that he has been convicted of. You are a very good example of how a jury can convict someone they don’t like. The evidence doesn’t matter to you as you think he has it coming. This article doesn’t present any evidence to support the highly strange claim that a priest would have time or inclination right after mass or between masses on a busy Sunday morning to do such a thing. Some hard evidence would be needed. I will wait to see what that evidence is. If it is just one word against another, many years later, with no physical evidence, and no witnesses, then it is a travesty, a railroading of a man disliked for other things.

Crystal Watson
6 months 3 weeks ago

Pell has a history of abuse claims against him and a history of treating victims like poop. I do not know if these particular claims are true or not, but given that the jury believed unanimously that they are, and given his history, I think it is likely they were right.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 3 weeks ago

Yes. This jury was unanimous. The last trial was 10:2 in Pell's favor. Once the evidence comes out, we will see. I have yet to read if there is any physical evidence or witnesses.

Vincent Couling
6 months 2 weeks ago

O'Leary claims: "Yes. This jury was unanimous. The last trial was 10:2 in Pell's favor. Once the evidence comes out, we will see. I have yet to read if there is any physical evidence or witnesses." Can O'Leary provide his sources for his claim of a jury vote of 10-2 in Pell's favour? O'Leary should apologise for misrepresenting specious claims as fact! See, for e.g., https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11439/church-grapples-to-come-to-terms-with-pell-conviction- : "Some in Catholic circles had raised questions about his guilt by reporting that the hung jury in the cardinal’s first trial had come to a 10-2 decision to acquit the prelate. This claim has been strenuously disputed both by a legal expert and journalists in the court room. University of Melbourne law professor Jeremy Gans said there was “very little reason to think it is true,” pointing out that it was illegal for jurors to reveal details about their deliberations. During the first trial, the judge was told the jurors had reached an impasse and told them they could reach an 11-1 verdict. It was equally probable, therefore, that the jury was 10-2 in favour of a guilty verdict as it was to acquit, while two reporters in the Melbourne courtroom saw some jurors in tears indicating the deep divisions among the twelve. “I don’t think this claim [10-2 not guilty] can be trusted,” stressed Professor Gans. "

Judith Jordan
6 months 3 weeks ago

Tim O'Leary--

Regardless of Pell’s guilt or innocence, I have read several accounts by abused victims of the clergy. Many of them described situations where the priest abused them after Mass in the church.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 3 weeks ago

Judith - there apparently were many logistic impediments in Pell's case that persuaded the first Jury he was innocent. I await the evidence to see if this was a fair trial.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Judith - here is what the prosecution says happened, as described by John Allen of Crux (link below):
One would have to believe that "an archbishop known as a fusspot for liturgical rules inexplicably broke protocol to head for the sacristy behind the cathedral altar on a busy Sunday. Normally accompanied by aides but at that moment strangely alone, according to the charge, Pell then discovered two choirboys, also by themselves, sexually abused both boys while still wearing his cumbersome liturgical vestments (which cannot be parted in the ways described in the testimony), and then returned to greeting Mass-goers, all without ever being observed by the host of people who constantly move in and out of the sacristy on such an occasion."

Do you still think this credible? I ask because I do not yet know what the Vatican investigation or the Australian Appeals outcome will be and its good to see how people interpret the data before it comes out?
https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2019/02/27/vatican-contrast-on-pell-mccarrick-driven-by-doubt-about-guilt/
I also found this fuller description that I didn't see when it was published. It gives many more details.
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/details-of-pell-trial-emerge-despite-gag-order-19631

Lisa M
6 months 2 weeks ago

Tim- thank you. No one should want someone to be convicted of a crime they did not commit. Hopefully the truth, whatever it is will prevail. As of now, the guilty verdict is troublesome.

Phillip Stone
6 months 3 weeks ago

You never disappoint in your malignant myopic spite, and I wonder if you have ever opened a Missal.
"Journalist" David Marr is another Jesuit educated ex-Catholic evangelising homosexual activist full of anger, bitterness and hate. It would be an honour to have a book denouncing me if written by him, nevertheless he needs as much prayer for his rescue as the notorious James Martin SJ.

F C
6 months 3 weeks ago

David Marr is not nor ever has been Catholic. He was not educated in a Jesuit school or university. He is a highly respected Australian journalist.

Judith Jordan
6 months 3 weeks ago

Phillip Stone---

Almost everyone has been justifiably upset about clerical sexual abuse. We have been insisting that suspected clergy be turned over to the state for criminal prosecution. Cardinal Pell has been convicted in a court of law and you criticize it as a miscarriage of justice without offering any proof. You certainly have the right to do so, but I do not find your criticism valid for the following reasons.

“No jury in Australia could have been assembled without the majority of its members already convinced that the sex abuse of minors was terrible and someone had to be punished.”
I would hope that ALL people think the sexual abuse of a minor is terrible, but that does not mean a jury cannot arrive at a valid decision.

“Pell is a blunt character, does not suffer fools gladly, and was like the perfect candidate chosen by central casting to play the villain.”
I have known many clergy who fit the description you gave Pell, but none of them were accused of sexual abuse because of their personalities.

Pell may have been the only official to create a system to deal with abuse, but that does not translate into innocence. He was in charge of areas that were later to be shown heavy with clergy abuse, but he had not reported them.

Your comments to Crystal Watson are particularly troublesome. You accuse her of “malignant myopic spite” and wonder if she has ever opened a Missal. Those are ad hominem attacks that have nothing to do with the authenticity of the issues.

You describe David Marr as a “homosexual activist full of anger, bitterness and hate.” Marr has won many awards for his books and his journalism; and, awards from some of the prestigious institutions in Australia. Apparently, his countrymen have a different view of him.

You refer to James Martin SJ as “notorious.” If he is your idea of notorious, then most of us would fail your standard of judgement.

Your comments imply that you reject Pell’s guilty verdict because he is very conservative. What would your views be if Pell were a liberal? Whether Pell is guilty or innocent, we must not pollute the discussion with our political views. That is the last thing we need to ascertain the guilt or innocence of the clergy. They should be judged on their behavior, not their political views.

“…full of anger, bitterness and hate.”

I have read and heard many conservatives make statements that are shockingly angry, bitter, and hateful, some of whom have had postings in this magazine. Does that make their comments suspect?

Colin Jory
6 months 3 weeks ago

David Marr has never been a Catholic and was not educated in any Catholic school. However, Phillip Stone is absolutely right in characterising him as a “homosexual activist full of anger, bitterness and hate” -- and above all a fanatical hatred of George Pell.

Phillip Stone
6 months 2 weeks ago

I was mistaken, he was educated at an elite Anglican GPS, not Catholic, my apologies.
"Another religiously educated ex-Christian in an elite Christian school ... "

Judith Jordan
6 months 2 weeks ago

Crystal Watson
You stated that conservatives will support Pell. I found that difficult to believe since it was an issue about sexual child abuse which I never think of as political. I was shocked to discover how correct you are. I see conservatives all over online defending Pell. I am appalled that people would mix child abuse with their political views.

Tim O'Leary
6 months 2 weeks ago

Judith - child abuse is horrible and indefensible. It is a lie to say conservatives defend it, especially on a day when Democrats voted in the Senate for infanticide. As the Kavanaugh and Covington and Smallett cases show, conservatives defend due process, justice based on actual crimes and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I await the evidence to prove Pell guilty. Maybe, it will be published soon, Few of Pell’s accusers see any need to have evidence. So, I am suspicious they don’t have it or care for it.

Judith Jordan
6 months 2 weeks ago

Tim O'Leary---Please read what I wrote and not what you think I wrote. I did not say that conservatives defend child abuse. I don’t know any conservative who do that. Such a notion is just silly. You will note in my posting to Crystal, I pointed out that she had stated that conservatives will support Pell. I could not believe that. I wrote to her, “I found that difficult to believe since it was an issue about sexual child abuse which I never think of as political. I was shocked to discover how correct you are. I see conservatives all over online defending Pell. I am appalled that people would mix child abuse with their political views.”

I did see conservatives online defending Pell and implying it was his conservative views. That does not translate to all conservatives doing that.

Further, on the same page, in my long response to Phillip Stone, I stated: “Your comments imply that you reject Pell’s guilty verdict because he is very conservative. What would your views be if Pell were a liberal? Whether Pell is guilty or innocent, we must not pollute the discussion with our political views. That is the last thing we need to ascertain the guilt or innocence of the clergy. They should be judged on their behavior, not their political views.”

I don’t know if Pell is guilty or innocent, nor have I ever advocated that he is or isn’t. My issue is that I saw many conservatives overwhelmingly defending Pell implying they believed in him because of his conservative views. That is foolish whether it comes from a conservative or a liberal.

I don’t know if Kavanaugh is guilty or not. I am retired so I watched all the hearings. My complaint is that there was not a complete, thorough FBI investigation which is normally done. That is hardly due process. Yes, yes, I know. Kavanaugh was vetted several times BEFORE his nomination to the SC. However, they did not do a normal, thorough FBI investigation. The FBI did not even interview Dr. Ford. If I were Kavanaugh, I would have insisted on a thorough FBI investigation to show my innocence. Several times at the hearings he was invited to do this. He refused to answer.

I did not follow the Covington issue.

Smallett issue. Are you under the impression that liberals do not support Smallett being arrested and tried?

Due process and presumption of innocence until proven guilty? I could name various cases where conservatives were contemptuous of these values. I can also names times that liberals were. To claim one side does this and the other side does not is nonsense.

But to respond to your comment about the conservatives, I shall narrow it down. Millions of conservatives love and support Trump. I have not found Trump to have any respect for the rule of law. I don’t need to lists all of Trump’s failings in ethics, truth, justice, etc. He lies continually. I don’t think he is immoral---he is amoral. One needs to only listen to Trump to recognize his corruption.

arthur mccaffrey
6 months 3 weeks ago

this is such a badly written article it is not at all clear what if anything happened. This is written under a byline of Feb 25 2019, but describes a court case of Dec 11, 2018??...leaves me bewildered.

Phillip Stone
6 months 3 weeks ago

Yes, Arthur, NCR did it correctly. This is the day that the suppression order for reporting the conviction handed down in December expired.
The court is now convened for sentencing.
Ah, the occult power of editors!

Colin Jory
6 months 3 weeks ago

Anyone who does not live in Australia, as I do, could not imagine the incessant, intensive hatred which has been directed against George Pell by the media Left (but not by the Murdoch press and TV here) for more than two decades. The main organs of the media Left are the Fairfax newspapers -- most of Australia's major metropolitan papers -- Fairfax TV, and the government-owned television and radio networks, the ABC and SBS. The media Left has constituted a voracious, inexhaustible market for any allegation or conjecture against Pell, and has aired every allegation and every conjecture with triumphalistic bitter hatred against him, no matter how lacking in substantiation or manifestly absurd these have been. Nothing except this endless blistering vilification can explain the jury's guilty finding against him in the recent trial, since the evidence presented did not merely manifestly fail to substantiate the charges "beyond reasonable doubt"; it showed beyond reasonable doubt that it was flatly impossible that the Cardinal could have done as alleged.

Most chillingly of all, the Jim Crow jurors must each have known perfectly well that he could not be guilty as charged. Evidently they decided, by wink and nudge, that such a detestable individual should nonetheless be deemed guilty, as a means of perverse "virtue signalling" by themselves. Their inferable underlying consensus was that even if Pell had not committed the offences alleged, he had probably committed comparably vile offences on other occasions; and that even if he hadn't, it was probably only for lack of opportunity, given his media-established loathsomeness.

For the curious, I must mention that the presiding judge, Peter Kidd, conducted the case with meticulous justice and fairness; that Pell's defence barrister, Robert Richter, QC, defended him with great competence, and showed himself very well aware that the jury was probably contaminated to its core with Pell-hatred; and that the prosecution tactics were not especially nasty. Indeed, persons I know who were present when the jury verdict was announce tell that the judge, the prosecution, and the defence alike were visibly stunned -- there was no high-fiveing or victory laps by the prosecution team.

Judith Jordan
6 months 2 weeks ago

Colin Jory--

I know what Jim Crow means in the U. S., but what does it mean in Australia?

Colin Jory
6 months 2 weeks ago

It means the same, Judith. Most Australians know a fair bit about American history -- even if in a disorganised kind of way -- everyone knows about the way negroes were treated in the South from after the Civil War until the 1960s; and although not everyone here knows the Jim Crow laws by that name, many do, and those who don't know the kinds of laws they were.

Vincent Couling
6 months 2 weeks ago

.

Douglas Fang
6 months 3 weeks ago

The level of cognitive dissonance is ridiculously high here for some commenters. For a very conservative high ranking clergyman like Pell, he’s given all kinds of benefits of the doubt and his accusers or the system that finds him guilty are either attacked or questioned. For rank-and-file homosexual priests who try to live a good and celibacy life, they are being looked at suspiciously as predators and as such, should be expelled from the priesthood!!!

Tim O'Leary
6 months 3 weeks ago

Douglas - you are not listening. The difference between conservative Catholics and progressive Catholics is actually quite consistent. The former group want everyone to try to live a moral life (as Scripture and the Church teaches it), with the grace of God, so they can be saved and get to heaven, including every person who is homosexual or pedophile or progressive or murderer or abortionist or whatever. There are many stories, of even recent converts (Joe Sciambria, Daniel Mattson, Abby Johnson, Bernard N. Nathanson) that are celebrated by conservative Catholics despite notorious pasts. For the good of everyone, they want those who will not or cannot live a moral life to leave the priesthood, especially if they oppose what the Church teaches. Progressives want to overturn doctrine, seem not interested in salvation, and hate their opponents to the death. They are walking hate criminals. They want scalps, irrespective of innocence or guilt in a specific crime (as in the recent massive fails in the US). If Pell did the homosexual acts he is convicted of, then he should certainly be found guilty and be punished. Like McCarrick, he can still be saved if he repents. It is just that the Pell story is very strange & logistically implausible (right after a 10:30am mass, where the only witness, in the same room, now dead, is said to have denied the episode). Furthermore, a 10:2 jury voted in his favor before another jury voted 12:0 to convict him. Also, many charges against Pell have been thrown out (why so many false charges?). I await the evidence. Anti-Catholic homosexuals like Marr have their own highly transparent hateful motives for hurting Pell, but do not seem to have any evidence to suggest he actually did it. Evidence just seems not important to progressives. It is part of the guilt-by-identity mind-set. Four legs good, two legs bad.

Vincent Couling
6 months 2 weeks ago

"Furthermore, a 10:2 jury voted in his favor before another jury voted 12:0 to convict him." Really, O'Leary? Where is your evidence that a jury voted 10-2 in Pell's favour? Please cite in full every jot and tittle thereof, or withdraw your statement of this supposition as fact! See for e.g. https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11439/church-grapples-to-come-to-terms-with-pell-conviction- :

"Some in Catholic circles had raised questions about his guilt by reporting that the hung jury in the cardinal’s first trial had come to a 10-2 decision to acquit the prelate. This claim has been strenuously disputed both by a legal expert and journalists in the court room. University of Melbourne law professor Jeremy Gans said there was “very little reason to think it is true,” pointing out that it was illegal for jurors to reveal details about their deliberations. During the first trial, the judge was told the jurors had reached an impasse and told them they could reach an 11-1 verdict. It was equally probable, therefore, that the jury was 10-2 in favour of a guilty verdict as it was to acquit, while two reporters in the Melbourne courtroom saw some jurors in tears indicating the deep divisions among the twelve. “I don’t think this claim [10-2 not guilty] can be trusted,” stressed Professor Gans. "

Crystal Watson
6 months 3 weeks ago

In The Guardian today - George Pell: David Marr on the cardinal's rise and fall – video explainer
And I have actually opened a missal ;)

Phillip Stone
6 months 2 weeks ago

Published where, UK or USA or Australia and which translation.
Now, justify your literary criticism or theological analysis of the parts you damn.

Crystal Watson
6 months 2 weeks ago

It was pretentious and awkward and conservative. Replaced "for you and for all" with “for you and for many", replace "and also with you" with "with your spirit", replaced "cup" with "chalice". So many disliked all the changes that more than 20,000 people signed an online petition to dump it.
- Anthony Ruff OSB - letter to the US Bishops about the missal
- Article by Fr. Endean SJ - Worship and Power
- article at America magazine by Paul Philibert OP, For You and Who Else?: What is lost in the new Roman Missal

Will Nier
6 months 2 weeks ago

The devil certainly has control of our priests. Who will be next? Where will the money come from to defend these people and pay off victims. I feel sorry for those in the pew for the Church has lost sight of them.

Andrew Wolfe
6 months 2 weeks ago

No actual witnesses and a conviction?

Mike Dunn
6 months 2 weeks ago

While I surely do not condone what he did nor what others did in the past the truth is child abuse by priests, teachers, and family members was overlooked in many cases due to the fact families held these people in high regard and their occasional misjudgment was forgiven and not talked about. A case in point. I attended public schools and a male high school teacher that was obviously homosexual taught both drama and stage crew. The semester before I graduated he was moved to my former Junior High (middle school). It was about that time his name came up while a bunch of my friends and I were talking about our different teachers . We were at a girls house and her mother heard our discussion. The mother was very active in her daughters education and the school. It seems this teacher was known to have nude swimming parties at his home for his male students. Now I never heard about any sexual activities going on, but it did seem odd these parties were for his male students only and they were nude swim parties. On top of all of this, he was transferred to a school where the students were younger and more inclined to accept this inappropriate behavior. I never heard about him ever being terminated or arrested and to the best of my knowledge he retired.

Colin Jory
6 months 2 weeks ago

''While I surely do not condone what he did...." I assume you mean Cardinal Pell, Mike. If you don't condone what he did, you don't condone doing nothing at all -- because Cardinal Pell manifestly did nothing whatsoever of which he's been accused. The most horrifying aspect of his conviction by the Jim Crow jury before which he was arraigned, as I have said, is that the evidence showing he could not physically have done as alleged -- that it is literally impossible that he could have done it -- was presented to the jury with such clarity and detail that it is unimaginable that even a single juryman could have failed to recognise its conclusiveness, yet they decided to deem Pell guilty anyway. None of the public -- not even journalists -- were allowed to hear the testimony of his accuser, but it was obviously a real Christine Blaysey Ford performance; and the jury decided that since they liked him, and since his story seemed "true to him", they would signal their sympathy for him and their loathing of Pell by making the story "true to them" also. They were then able to disregard as irrelevant all the contravening evidence.

Lisa M
6 months 2 weeks ago

Colin- Are you saying when the accuser took the stand, and was examined and cross examined, no one other than lawyers, etc were allowed in the courtroom? This particular testimony was not allowed to be heard? Are there transcripts? Is this always the case?

Mister Mckee
6 months 2 weeks ago

Another view of the proceedings - from down under:
https://international.la-croix.com/news/truth-and-justice-after-the-cardinal-pell-verdict/9546?utm_campaign=LaCroixDaily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=(537)%20AllSubscri#

Michael Houlder
6 months 2 weeks ago

I've read the CNN report. It seems very confused to me. I cannot believe a defending lawyer would on ethical grounds admit his client's guilt.
But I have three deeper causes of disquiet:
1. the change in jury voting between the two trials (10:2, 0:12)
2. I am very well aware of the liturgical vestments Pell was wearing at the time. With these I do not believe the described sexual assault was possible.
3. Pedophilia, sexual assault crimes are not usually unique. I would expect a history of sexual misbehaviour to come to light.

Colin Jory
6 months 2 weeks ago

Mike -- after a guilty verdict has been delivered in criminal trial, and counsels argue before the judge as to what the sentence should be, they are required by strict legal protocol to act and speak as if the person was indeed guilty. The person's counsel is not permitted to argue his innocence there, nor even to intimate that it still believes he is innocent. Robert Richter certainly does still believe, very firmly, that Dr Pell (he has an Oxford D.Phil) is innocent, and has appealed against the sentence.

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