Cardinal Pell found guilty of child sex offences

Cardinal Pell

Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty on five counts of historic sex offenses.

The jury in a County Court of the State of Victoria, delivered a unanimous verdict on Tuesday.

The verdict came after three days of deliberation and sentencing will take place in early February.

Until then Pell is released on bail.

This was the second trial on these offenses.

In September, a hung jury forced the trial, dubbed the “cathedral trial”, to be declared a mistrial.

Few details are known about the nature of the charges against Pell because in Australia the entire first and second trials are covered by a strict suppression order issued by Judge Peter Kidd.

A second trial, called the “swimmer’s trial”, is expected to hear evidence that a then young Father Pell allegedly sexually offended two men when they were boys playing games in a swimming pool in Ballarat, Victoria.

The “swimmer’s trial” will probably take place mid-February or early March, after sentencing for the “cathedral trial.”

Most recently at the Vatican, Pell has had prime responsibility for cleaning up the Vatican’s finances, and the work is paying dividends.

“The aim of the clean-up was to fight money laundering and terrorist financing and to bring Vatican finances into compliance with international norms.

“Thousands of accounts have been closed as a result.

“Last week (late November), the Board of the European Payments Council extended “the geographical scope of the Single Euro Payments Area [SEPA] to Vatican City State and the Holy See,” reports CathNews NZ.

Pell took leave from his job at the Vatican in order to stand trial in Australia. However, the Vatican has not commented on the news of the cardinal’s conviction out of respect for the suppression order.

“The Holy See has the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities. We are aware there is a suppression order in place and we respect that order,” said the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Mr Greg Burke.

Earlier in 2018, Pope Francis told journalists in an airborne press conference he would speak only after the judicial process (which includes the possibility of an appeal and sentencing) had run its course.

In early December, former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson had his conviction overturned by an appeals court.

Pell has always insisted on his innocence.


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