Never in the history of the Catholic Church a Cardinal with the most seniority was ever charged with a sexual crime and even less, convicted.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, 77, chosen by Pope Francis to run the Vatican’s economic ministry and to put the Holy See’s finances in order has been convicted of sexually abusing children, and sentenced to 6 years in prison and will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.
“I am conscious that the term of imprisonment, which I am about to impose upon you, carries with it a real, as distinct from theoretical, possibility that you may not live to be released from prison,” said to Pell, Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd however, Pell will be eligible for parole after three years and eight months.
Pell has been convicted of five sexual offenses committed against two 13-year-old choirboys during an incident in 1996 at Melbourne’s grandest cathedral, when he was the archbishop. A 12-member jury unanimously found him guilty of exposing himself to the two boys, caressing them and forcing them to perform oral sex on him. The jury also convicted Pell of indecently assaulting one of the boys more than a month later. One of the victims died in 2014 of a heroin overdose. He was 31 and never reported the abuse.
Originally, a court-issued gag order was ruled in order to block media from reporting this on the news until last month. Cardenal Pell has denied the allegations, and his lawyers argue he has been wrongfully accused and due to his high rank in the church, made a scapegoat for the flaws in the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse by priests.
Pell´s lawyers have filed an appeal, and the court will determine if there are sufficient grounds for it. A court date has been set for June 5.
The Yucatan Times