Melbourne's archbishop still believes Cardinal George Pell is innocent

George Pell will have one final legal avenue to challenge his sexual abuse convictions

On Wednesday Victoria's Court of Appeal turned down Pell's appeal against a six-year jail term which was handed down in March after he was found guilty of sexual offences against two choirboys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

A unanimous jury in December found Pope Francis' former finance minister guilty of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral more than two decades ago.

Following the ruling, Pell - who will be eligible for parole in three years and eight months - maintained his innocence and said he was now considering a second and final appeal.

The Vatican says it will let George Pell exhaust all legal avenues of appeal against his sexual abuse convictions in Australia before taking up his case in its own canon law investigation.

Ferguson said she and President of the Court of Appeal Chris Maxwell "decided that it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty".

Pell's lawyers said they would "thoroughly examine" the judgement to make a possible last-ditch appeal in the High Court of Australia.

"As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court", the statement said.

"Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today", the statement, which was shared widely online, read.

In a little bit better than a year, the pope has acknowledged he made "grave errors" in Chile's worst duvet-up; Pell used to be convicted of abuse; a French cardinal used to be convicted of failing to document a pedophile; and a third cardinal, prone U.S. church chief Theodore McCarrick, used to be defrocked after a Vatican investigation definite he molested young of us and adults.

If Pell, 78, does not lodge an appeal or is unsuccessful and remains in prison, he could die in there, Archbishop Comensoli said.


Shortly after his conviction, Pell was removed from the so-called C9 Council of Cardinals that are effectively the Pope's cabinet and inner circle of advisers.

The CDF has been looking into the accusations against Pell since his conviction in Australia.

Lawyer Lisa Flynn said the father had an "extremely tough wait" for the judgment against Pell and the court made the correct decision.

Archbishop Comensoli said neither Witness J or the other victim's family had been compensated for the abuse. "The journey has taken me to places that, in my darkest moments, I feared I could moreover now not return from", he acknowledged in a press liberate launched by his attorney.

"At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse", a spokesperson said. He was then taken to prison where he began to carry out the sentence. The first trial in September 2018 resulted in a hung jury.

A US-based non-profit group that seeks accountability for sex abuse in the Catholic church said the ruling was a watershed that should give all victims hope.

But he also went on to say he also believed the victim who came forward to police was abused within the church - but questioned whether it was Pell who abused him.

Unlike Pell, McCarrick's case was not the subject of a trial.

The Maltese-born immigrant also testified that he would have seen Pell squeeze a choirboy's genitals as he shoved the teen against a cathedral wall if the indecent assault had happened after a Mass in February 1997 as the complainant had testified.

Prison authorities have been investigating whether Pell breached rules by writing a letter dated August 1 that was circulated by his supporters on social media. Boyce drew the judges' attention to a video recording of a particular section of the complainant's questioning by Pell's lawyers.

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