Cardinal George Pell convicted of child sex abuse against two choirboys

Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of abusing two 13-year-old boys

Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of abusing two 13-year-old boys

The jury convicted Pell of abusing two 13-year-old boys whom he had caught drinking sacramental wine in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996.

The now 34-year-old survivor told the court that Pell orally raped him, then crouched and fondled the complainant's genitals while masturbating.

It also found Pell guilty of assaulting one of the boys about a month later. He denied all the charges.

He was frailer by the second trial in November and December, using a crutch because he required two surgical knee replacements.

The news was made public in Australia on Tuesday when a gag order was lifted, sending shockwaves across the world and through the Catholic church.

"People make reasoned choices", he told the court. The other convictions related to improperly touching the boys. The following year, Pell again approached the boy and molested him within the church walls.

Survivors of child abuse were elated with Pell's conviction and relieved that the testimony of one boy had been believed by a jury of 12 people. I was in court in Melbourne last May for part of the "committal hearing" to decide which of the accusations should go to trial, when and how.

Pell had pleaded not guilty.

In a statement, Pope Francis's office said it was saddened by the news and that it awaits the outcome of the appeals process. The first trial would be for allegations of sexual abuse inside a Melbourne cathedral in the mid-1990s; the second trial - later -would be for alleged crimes at a swimming pool in the 1970s.

The verdict followed an earlier mistrial in which a jury was deadlocked at 10-2 in favor of declaring the cardinal "not guilty".

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Justice should be done and seen to be done.

Protesters hold placards outside the County Court where Cardinal George Pell is to arrive in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.

Richter, Pell's lawyer, had told the jury that the media had portrayed Pell as the "Darth Vader" of the church, referring to the "Star Wars" character.

At the time he was charged, Pell was Vatican treasurer, a member of Pope Francis' council of nine cardinals, and in the words of the Guardian, had been "handpicked to oversee the Vatican's complex finances and root out corruption". Pell's lawyer, Robert Richter, withdrew the bail application which was made to the court of appeal, and which was due to be heard before the supreme court on Wednesday afternoon.

A jury unanimously convicted Pell in December but the verdict was suppressed until Tuesday.

"I am just a regular guy working to support and protect my family", he said.

"While waiting for the final judgment, we join the Australian bishops in praying for all the victims of abuse, reaffirming our commitment to do everything possible so that the Church is a safe house for everyone, especially for children and the most vulnerable", reported The Guardian.

Pell's own hometown of Ballarat, about 90 minutes west of Melbourne, had such a high incidence of abuse that the city warranted its own case study in the Royal Commission report.

Another one of the references came from Greg Craven, the vice-chancellor of Australian Catholic University.

On Tuesday, Richter accepted a prison sentence was inevitable but said he meant to appeal on three grounds, including that the jury verdict was unreasonable as it was contrary to the evidence.

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