Australian Court Upholds Cardinal Pell’s Sex Abuse Verdict

Cardinal George Pell AP

An Australian appeals court Wednesday upheld convictions against Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic to be found guilty of sexually abusing children. The decision brought cheers from scores of abuse survivors and victims’ advocates demonstrating outside court.

The Victoria state Court of Appeal in a 2-1 ruling rejected Pell’s appeal of a unanimous jury verdict in December that Pope Francis’ former finance minister was guilty of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral more than two decades ago.

Pell’s lawyers will examine the judgment and consider an appeal to the High Court, Australia’s final arbiter, his spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today,” the statement said, adding that he maintains his innocence.

He was sentenced to six years in prison in March and is no longer a member of Francis’ Council of Cardinals or a Vatican official. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said soon after the appeal was rejected that Pell would be stripped of his Order of Australia honor.

Pell, 78, showed no emotion when Chief Justice Anne Ferguson read the verdict to a packed courtroom but bowed his head moments later. He wore a cleric’s collar but not his cardinal’s ring. Pell had arrived at the court in a prison van and was handcuffed as he was led away by a guard.

The Vatican is conducting its own investigation into sex abuse allegations against Pell and is expected to comment on the ruling later Wednesday.

Clerical sexual abuse and the Catholic Church’s handling of such cases worldwide have thrown Francis’ papacy into turmoil.

In a little more than a year, the pope has acknowledged he made “grave errors” in Chile’s worst cover-up, Pell was convicted of abuse, a French cardinal was convicted of failing to report a pedophile, and a third cardinal, former U.S. church leader Theodore McCarrick, was defrocked after a Vatican investigation determined he molested children and adults.

Ferguson said she and President of the Court of Appeal Chris Maxwell “decided that it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty.”

The two judges “accepted the prosecution’s submission that the complainant was a very compelling witness, clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist and was a witness of truth,” Ferguson said.

The dissenting judge, Mark Weinberg, “could not exclude as a reasonable possibility that some of what the complainant said was concocted,” particularly in relation to the charge that Pell had squeezed the boy’s genitals and shoved him against a cathedral corridor wall as they passed in the midst of the choir moments after a Mass, she said.

“Justice Weinberg found that the complainant’s account of the second incident was entirely implausible and quite unconvincing,” Ferguson said.

One of the choirboys, identified by the sentencing judge as J.J., was the key prosecution witness. His friend, identified as M.R., died of a heroin overdose in 2014 at the age of 31 without ever complaining he had been abused. Neither victim can be named.

J.J. said in a statement on Wednesday that he “felt a responsibility to come forward” after attending his friend’s funeral.

“The criminal process has been stressful. The journey has taken me to places that, in my darkest moments, I feared I could not return from,” he said in a statement released by his lawyer.

“I am grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in, where everybody is equal before the law and no one is above the law,” he added.

The victim said he was relieved by the verdict and, “I just hope that it’s all over now.”

The father of the deceased victim shed tears of relief in the courtroom when Pell’s appeal was denied, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Lisa Flynn said the father had an “extremely tough wait” for the judgment against Pell and the court made the correct decision. “The disgraced cardinal is in the right place behind bars.”

An earlier trial had ended with a deadlocked jury, with at least two jurors holding out for conviction or acquittal. While Pell’s lawyers argued in the appeal that the jury must have had reasonable doubt, the prosecutors said contrasting evidence from more than 20 priests, choristers, altar servers and church officials still did not preclude guilty verdicts.

The abuse occurred months after Pell became archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city and had set the world’s first compensation arrangement for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The victim who testified said the incident in the corridor occurred in early 1997. The jury also concluded that Pell in late 1996 had orally raped the same choirboy and indecently dealt with the boy and his friend in a rear room of the cathedral after catching them swigging altar wine.

Pell did not testify at either of his trials. But both juries saw a video of a police interview of him in Rome in 2016 in which Pell rejected the allegations as “absolutely disgraceful rubbish” and a “deranged falsehood.”

Ferguson read a summary of the three judges’ findings. The 325-page ruling was published later Wednesday.

When sentencing Pell to six years in prison in March, the trial judge accused Pell of showing “staggering arrogance” in his crimes. He was ordered to serve a minimum of three years and eight months before he will be eligible for parole.


101 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. french bulldogs
  2. Fiverr
  3. Fiverr.Com
  4. Fiverr.Com
  5. merle french bulldog
  6. top university Egypt
  7. Free Local Classified Ads
  8. Sell Unwanted items online
  9. FiverrEarn
  10. FiverrEarn
  11. FiverrEarn
  12. FiverrEarn
  13. FiverrEarn
  14. Training Philippines
  15. FiverrEarn
  16. Video Promo AL Zaytoonah University OF Jodran
  17. FiverrEarn
  18. FiverrEarn
  19. FiverrEarn
  20. Aussie Porn Stars
  21. Pupuk Organik terpercaya dan terbaik di
  22. Pupuk Anorganik terbaik dan terpercaya di
  23. pupuk anorganik dan pupuk organik
  24. pupuk organik cair
  25. Unisex On-Demand Print Shop
  26. partners
  27. Business leadership training in Egypt
  28. java burn reviews
  29. biofit
  30. menorescue reviews
  31. tea burn reviews
  32. alpha tonic official site
  33. Faculty of economics & political science
  34. How many years of pharmacy school
  35. neurorise reviews
  36. french bulldog pups for sale near me
  37. french bulldog
  38. FiverrEarn
  39. FiverrEarn
  40. FiverrEarn
  41. FiverrEarn
  42. live sex cams
  43. live sex cams
  44. live sex cams
  45. live sex cams
  46. FiverrEarn
  47. FiverrEarn
  48. FiverrEarn
  49. FiverrEarn
  50. FiverrEarn
  51. FiverrEarn
  52. FiverrEarn
  53. texas french bulldogs
  54. FiverrEarn
  55. FiverrEarn
  56. FiverrEarn
  57. FiverrEarn
  58. FiverrEarn
  59. FiverrEarn
  60. FiverrEarn
  61. FiverrEarn
  62. FiverrEarn
  63. FiverrEarn
  64. FiverrEarn
  65. FiverrEarn
  66. FiverrEarn
  67. Queen Arwa University
  68. FiverrEarn
  69. FiverrEarn
  70. FiverrEarn
  71. FiverrEarn
  72. filmebi qartulad
  73. Best Lightroom Presets
  74. seo company pennsylvania
  75. wix seo expert
  76. wix website
  77. pharmacy
  78. marketing
  79. Scientific Research
  80. Kuliah Termurah
  81. FiverrEarn
  82. FiverrEarn
  83. FiverrEarn
  84. FiverrEarn
  85. FiverrEarn
  86. FiverrEarn
  87. FiverrEarn
  88. Generator Repair near me Sheffield
  89. sonovive legit
  90. cheap sex cams
  95. dog probiotics
  96. live sex cams
  97. live sex cams
  98. live sex cams
  99. dehydrated water
  100. freeze dried marketplace
  101. frt trigger

Leave a Reply