According to several media reports Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of five charges of ‘historical sexual abuse’ sex abuse by a Court in Melbourne Australia. He is the most senior Church official found guilty of such abuse. The Court will pronounce its sentence coming February but it is very probably that Pell will appeal. After the sentencing Pell will face another trial for other charges of sexual abuse.
The Court, on the request of the prosecution, has restricted Australian media coverage of the trial since June but this notwithstanding the website Daily Beast reported that the jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict after almost four days of deliberations. The verdict was given on Tuesday.
Pell was charged that he sexually abused two altar servers in the late 1990s, while he was Archbishop of Melbourne.
The trial started on November 7. This was the second trial as the first trial held in September failed to reach consensus.
In 2013 Pope Francis had appointed Card Pell to his council of advisers known as the “C9” council of cardinal advisers from around the world in 2013. But on Wednesday, the Vatican announced that at the end of October, Pope Francis had removed Pell, along with two other cardinals, from his council of advisers. A spokeman for the Vatican however said that Pell had not been removed form his post as the Vatican’s Secretary for the Economy, a post he held since 2014. Pell is 77 years old and is on leave of absence from this post.
He served as the Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001, then as the Archbishop of Sydney from 2001 until 2014.