More doubt emerges about Pell’s abuse

Two former employees of the Melbourne Cathedral school have come forward expressing doubts about events that landed Cardinal George Pell in prison.

In 1996, Lil Sinozic and Jean Corish were on duty at the Cathedral nearly every Sunday morning.

“I just know for a fact that what they’re describing could not have happened, given the situation in the sacristy after Mass…to say that there was this five-minute interval where these acts were performed, and nobody saw or heard anything is ridiculous. I don’t know why the jury was led to believe otherwise,” Sinozic told CNA in an interview.

She said she was not present on the day of the incidents, but is very familiar with the behaviour of the people involved and the routine at the Cathedral.

“Normally the archbishop would go out the front of the cathedral, and he would spend at least half an hour, if not an hour, meeting and greeting people,” she said.

“Particularly at that time, when he was new, everyone was curious about him and wanted to get to know him.

“So he would have spent quite a good deal of time out front just chatting to people”.

“And then he was always followed by his entourage; he would have had his master of ceremonies, other people hanging on, and the sacristy was always busy as a beehive after Mass, as you might imagine.”

Sinozic also pointed out that there had been problems with tourists coming to the sacristy and that Cornish, her colleague would have been patrolling where the incident took place.

Cornish admits her recollections back in 1996 are “sketchy to say the least”, but that it was most unlikely for the archbishop to have been totally alone after Mass ended.

“It could be up to an hour after the end of Mass before the area was clear of people who were in all the areas mentioned by the accuser, including the priests’ sacristy which was the busiest of all the sacristies at that time,” said Cornish.

She said the place where the abuse is deemed to have happened is the busiest and most open of the sacristy areas.

“George is too smart to do something so stupid. Why would he do something like that? Knowing that anyone could walk in any second,” she commented.

She said the archbishop would always spend a great deal of time shaking hands and greeting people after Mass, even as protesters sometimes made their presence known with placards, shouting slogans such as “Pell go to hell” and ”We will get you Pell no matter what.”

Lil Sinozic is a former deputy school principal and Cornish a former school principal, they maintain they are well versed in knowing how to spot children who are out of place.

Both admit that Pell can come across a bit cold and arrogant, but they say it is unfair to blame him and make him a scapegoat for other people’s behaviour.

The Court of Appeals in Victoria upheld Pell’s conviction last summer.

The Chief Justice ruled that Pell will be eligible to apply for parole after he has served three years and eight months of his six-year sentence.

Held in solitary confinement, Pell has recently obtained a prison job weeding a courtyard.

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