Warning: this story contains graphic detail of horrific crimes committed by Cardinal George Pell.
If you don’t want to know all the details, don’t read to the end.
Absolutely disgusting, but I am so glad to see the LIGHT being shined on this filth and sick people like Pell arrested and soon jailed for a long time!
NOTE: this is the THIRD most powerful person in the Catholic Church. You don’t get much higher than that. And the first most powerful? Let’s just say I’m not a fan.
The story is especially strange because the conviction is reported to have happened in December but was kept a secret until now.
Take a look at the headlines:
From CNN, here's more on the vile story:
One of the most powerful men in the Roman Catholic Church was found guilty of multiple historical child sex offenses at a secret trial in Melbourne in December, the existence of which can only now be revealed.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, 77, is almost certain to face prison after a jury found him guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of an indecent act with or in the presence of a child in the late 1990s.
The conviction of Pell, the Vatican treasurer and a close adviser to Pope Francis, will send shockwaves through the church, which is already reeling from accusations of sexual abusecommitted by priests worldwide.
Pell is the most senior Catholic official to be found guilty of child sex offenses to date. His conviction brings the escalating international controversy around the abuse of children in Catholic institutions straight to the doors of the Holy See.
A court order banning media reporting of Pell's five-week long trial, which began in November 2018, was lifted by Chief Judge Peter Kidd on Tuesday.
The prosecution's case hinged on the testimony of one man, who said Pell sexually abused him and another boy in Melbourne's historic St. Patrick's Cathedral after mass one Sunday.
The second victim later died from a drug overdose having never revealed the abuse to anyone. The surviving accuser can not be identified under Australian law governing sex abuse victims.
In court the accuser told the jury how Pell, then Archbishop of Melbourne, discovered the two choirboys drinking wine in the priest's sacristy, a small room at the back of the cathedral.
He claimed Pell forced one of the boys to perform oral sex on him and performed an indecent act on his friend. One month later, the victim said Pell pushed him up against a wall and groped his genitals.
Gasps were heard in court after Pell was pronounced guilty of all charges in December.
In a statement Tuesday, Pell's accuser said he had struggled with "shame, loneliness (and) depression" after the abuse.
"Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life. At some point we realize that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust," he said in a public statement from his lawyer.
Under Australian law, all details of the first trial, including its existence, were suppressed due to concerns they could prejudice future juries.
The court order was lifted after the crown prosecutor chose to not proceed with a planned second trial into further child sex allegations against Pell.
Pell has repeatedly maintained his innocence. His legal team confirmed on Tuesday they had filed an appeal against the guilty verdict.
The Vatican has yet to comment on the verdict. Pope Francis quietly removed Pell from his small council of advisors for "reasons of advancing age" in December, before the news of the cardinal's conviction became public.
For more than 20 years, the boy at the center of the allegations held a secret he said he was too shocked and scared to disclose.
The attack happened over a period of just six minutes, as hundreds of parishioners were milling outside after Sunday mass.
Pell's attorney Richter said only a "mad man would attempt to rape boys" at such a time. But the victim told the court that's exactly what happened.
Testifying in a video link to the court during a closed session, he described how after mass the boys slipped away from the procession and into the back of the cathedral where they drank some communion wine.
Suddenly Pell appeared and demanded to know what they were doing.
"He planted himself in the doorway and said something like, 'What are you doing in here' or 'You're in trouble' ... Then he undid his trousers or his belt," the surviving accuser told the jury in a closed session.
Crown prosecutor Mark Gibson later read his testimony to a full court, detailing how Pell cornered the pair, pulled aside his robes and pulled out his penis. The then-Archbishop physically forced one of the boys to perform oral sex on him.
According to the accuser's testimony, Pell then instructed him to take off his pants and touched the boy's genitals while masturbating.
The victim said one month later Pell pushed him up against a wall and groped his genitals.
"I didn't tell anyone at the time because I didn't want to jeopardize anything. I didn't want to rock the boat with my family, my schooling, my life ... I had no intention back then of telling anyone ever," Gibson said, quoting the victim's testimony.
Pell's lawyer Richter argued strongly the attack was impossible. He said the boys couldn't have run off without being seen and Pell would have been talking to parishioners after the service.
Richter even said the archbishop's robes couldn't be loosened in the manner described by the accuser. "(This is an) embellishment on a fantasy," he told the jury.
The cardinal never took the stand in his own defense but a video of his meeting with Australian detectives in Rome in 2016 was played to the court.
In the video, Pell said the charges were "the products of fantasy." When asked whether he'd forced a boy to perform oral sex he said it was a "deranged falsehood."
"What a load of absolute and disgraceful rubbish. Completely false. Madness," he told detectives.
Pell looked shocked when the "guilty" verdict was read out on December 11 after the jury had deliberated for three and a half days.
It was the second time Pell had faced court on this set of charges. An earlier, unreported trial in August had resulted in a hung jury after almost six days of deliberations.
Meanwhile, another report is also out today, this one out of Iowa.
Here's more on THAT vile story, from the Des Moines Register:
The Diocese of Sioux City has published the names of 28 priests it said are credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
"It's with a heavy and sad heart I acknowledge that some of our priests and bishops have abused the grace and beauty of the priesthood," Sioux City Bishop R. Walker Nickless said at a news conference Monday. "They have sexually abused innocent children."
The alleged abuse occurred between 1948 and 1995, the diocese said.
"There have been allegations since that time, but none of them has been deemed credible by local authorities or the review board," Nickless said.
"As you review the list, it is important to remember the accusations, while considered credible, are not the equivalent of conviction in a court of law," the diocese said. "Many of the accused priests are deceased and cannot defend themselves."
Twenty-two of the 28 listed priests are deceased. Those still living are not active in ministry or with youth, the diocese said, and are stripped of their ability to represent themselves as priests. The name of a 29th accused priest was withheld pending an appeal to the Vatican.
"The list was finalized over the last several months and includes a review of all priest files dating back to the beginning of the diocese in 1902," the diocese said in a news release Monday morning. It is the first time the diocese has released names of accused priests, despite longtime calls from victims to do so.
Nickless said he intended to send a clear message to victims by naming the accused priests: "We believe you. We care about you."
How did we get here?
Last October, the diocese acknowledged it had concealed — for 32 years — the Rev. Jerome Coyle's admission that he sexually abused dozens of Iowa boys, after an investigation by the Associated Press.
Nickless since promised to publish a list of credibly abused priests. Nobody at the diocese, including Nickless, had "firsthand knowledge" about Coyle until the AP inquired about him, the bishop said in an October news release.
The former bishop of Sioux City, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, is accused of helping conceal admitted abuse by Coyle and allegations against the Rev. George B. McFadden while serving the diocese from 1997 to 2004.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) calls for DiNardo to resign from his post as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Currently the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, DiNardo is accused of covering up abuse cases in both Iowa and Texas.
In Des Moines, Bishop Richard Pates "is studying this issue in consultation with our Allegation Review Committee," said Anne Marie Cox, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Des Moines.
In September, the Des Moines diocese said Pates referred a third allegation of decades-old sexual abuse by a retired priest, the Rev. Leonard Kenkel, to local law enforcement. It is unclear what steps the review committee has taken since.
According to Bishop-Accountability.org, a non-profit website that documents reported clergy sex abuse, 10 priests who served the Des Moines diocese have been publicly accused of sexual abuse. One of those priests, the Rev. Paul Monahan, was suspended in 2016 after accusations that he invaded the privacy of five male high school students in a locker room. His conviction was reversed and his suspension of priestly ministry fully lifted in 2018.
In the past two decades in Iowa, Catholic dioceses have paid millions to settle sex abuse cases, the largest settlements happening over the course of years in Davenport and Dubuque.