Pell maintains his innocence and may appeal to the High Court of Australia
On Wednesday, Cardinal George Pell lost his appeal against his conviction of sexual abuse after a 2-1 ruling. In December the court found the senior cleric of the Catholic Church guilty of molesting two choirboys 13 years of age in St. Patrick Cathedral over two decades ago. As a result, he has to serve a sentence of six years in prison.
Pell was the former finance minister selected by Pope Francis, making him the senior-most clergy member. The Vatican expressed that it supports the sexual abuse victims and their journey of pursuing officials be held responsible for these acts. However, the Catholic Church didn’t talk about removing the cardinal title from Pell, despite the conviction.
The decision by the judges divided the public. One section of the community criticized the Cardinal, while the others are strong supporters of the clergy member.
Pell approached the appeals court with the hope of overturning the decision. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson found the testimony of one of the victims to be truthful. She stated that the survivor didn’t change his wording to influence the decision of the prosecution. The way he presented the facts was evidence he was not lying.
Out of the three judges, Mark Weinberg was the only one who voted in favor of the appeal. He believed there was a chance that the victim fabricated some of the details.
However, the lawyers of the Cardinal may appeal to the High Court of Australia.
Pell showed no emotion as he heard the decision of the court, maintaining his innocence. The spokeswoman for the Cardinal, Katrina Lee, said that the ruling of the judges disappointed him.
Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, said Pell would no longer be worthy of the Order of Australia honor. After the appeal, the official stated that he could lose his title of Cardinal.
One of the choirboys was grateful to the legal system’s action against George Pell. The second victim lost his life due to a heroin overdose in 2014. His father was in tears after the dismissal of the appeal.
With Pell's appeal now decided I can't but help think of all the emotions being experience by that brave young man who stood up and spoke the truth in the face of condemnation from Cardinal Pell's supporters. Also thinking of the victim who didn't live to see this day.
— Peter Fox 💧🦊🇦🇺 (@Peter_Fox59) August 21, 2019