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Third Most Powerful Vatican Official Found Guilty of Child Rape

Cardinal George Pell, the former third most powerful Vatican official and Australia’s most senior Catholic official, has been convicted of child sexual abuse in a Melbourne court trial. The verdict was delivered on December 11 but is subject to a suppression order until now, while a previous trial on the same five charges resulted in a hung jury – leading to a retrial.

Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s Treasurer, was found guilty of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16, along with four charges of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16. He is also accused of orally raping two choir boys he had caught drinking the sacramental wine in a church corridor.

The cases against the Cardinal dated over 22 years ago. The jury found that in the second half of December 1996, while he was archbishop of Melbourne, Pell walked in on two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral and sexually assaulted them.

One of the complainants said in the court that he and the other boy were forced to give oral sex to the then archbishop after they were caught drinking the sacramental wine post the church offerings. In another incident, Pell’s accuser said that later in 1996 or 1997 Pell attacked him again while he was walking down the hallway to a choristers’ change room.

Pell pleaded the court not guilty and attributed them as “a load of garbage and falsehood” in a recorded interview from October 2016.
Two days after the unreported verdict in December the Vatican announced that Pell and two other cardinals had been removed from the pontiff’s council of advisers. However, Pope Francis, who has previously praised Pell for his honesty and response to child sexual abuse, is yet to make a public statement.

Word of Pell’s conviction comes days after a Vatican summit on sexual abuse during which Germany’s top cardinal, Reinhard Marx, admitted about the Catholic church’s decades of sexual misconduct while talking; “The files that documented these horrible acts and could name those responsible were destroyed or not created at all.”

Prior to returning to Australia to face charges, he had been working for three years as prefect of the secretariat for the economy of the Holy See, “making him one of the most senior Catholics in the world,” according to the Guardian.

Pell’s defence attorney, Robert Richter QC, said that he would “absolutely” appeal the decision. Pell stood silent and emotionless while the jury read the verdict following the trial which lasted for more than a month.

Third Most Powerful Vatican Official Found Guilty of Child Rape Third Most Powerful Vatican Official Found Guilty of Child Rape Reviewed by Tim on August 22, 2019 Rating: 5

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