Top Vatican official’s sex abuse conviction latest blow to embattled Roman Catholic Church

ABC News

February 26, 2019

By Meghan Keneally

The revelation that a Catholic cardinal in Australia was convicted of molesting boys marks the most senior member of the church to face prison time for sexual abuse.

The charges against Cardinal George Pell — who was not only a major figure in Australia’s Catholic church but also a close adviser to Pope Francis — were not publicly released until Tuesday because of a law in the country’s court system.

In December, he was convicted of molesting two choir boys in the 1990s, but under Australian law, all details of that trial — including the fact that the trial was held at all — were suppressed because Pell was set to be subject to a second trial.

But the suppression order was lifted after additional charges relating to allegations that Pell had also abused boys in his hometown of Ballarat in the 1970s were dropped, prompting details of the first trial and conviction to be made public for the first time, according to the Associated Press.

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