Cardinal George Pell found guilty of sexual abuse

Hetty Johnston

Hetty Johnston"Nobody is out of reach of the law.SBS News

Cardinal George Pell has arrived at a Melbourne court for a pre-sentencing hearing after his conviction on child sex offences.

Pell, 77, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault and one count of rape by a Melbourne jury last December.

A jury in the Country Court of Victoria in Melbourne found Pell guilty on December 11 previous year following a four-week trial.

County Court chief judge Peter Kidd today lifted the suppression order which has prevented local media from reporting on the result of the December trial.

Pell has maintained his innocence over all allegations and has lodged an appeal of his conviction.

Australia's Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge gave the final homily [lecture] at the Vatican summit on Sunday, saying the Catholic church had been "our own worst enemy" in failing to confront the abuse of children.

"Outside the County Court of Victoria, supporters of other abuse survivors yelled "monster" and "rot in hell" as Pell, walking slowly with the aid of a cane, entered a auto after the hearing concluded". "Most here believe Pell is innocent, certainly those who worked with him".

In the decades since, evidence of widespread abuse has emerged globally.

Pope Francis, the statement explained, confirmed those restrictions would remain in place until "the outcome of the appeal process" and a "definitive assessment of the facts".

Pope Francis closed out a conference on sexual abuse on Sunday calling for an "all out battle" against a crime that should be "erased from the face of the earth".

Pell said in an Australian television interview weeks before his interview with police that the public perception of him as "wooden" was wrong.

A law firm representing the father of a sex abuse victim who died of a heroin overdose says his son's abuser, Cardinal George Pell, has "blood on his hands".

He has been on an extended leave of absence from the Vatican amid the court proceedings in Melbourne.

Other Australian institutions have already moved to strip Pell of honours, including the Richmond Football Club which has revoked Pell's honorary position, and St Patrick's College in Ballarat, the school Pell attended, which has removed his name from a building.

He was summoned to Rome in 2014 to clean up the Vatican's finances and was often described as the Church's third-ranked official.

Australia's media has strongly protested the gag order imposed on the case, which forbade them - and global agencies like AFP - from even mentioning the existence of the trial or the order itself.

At a morning briefing, Gisotti said Pell's five-year term as Vatican economy minister had expired on 24 February. About one in five Australians are Catholic.

The verdict will come as another blow to the Catholic Church, which has been rattled by widespread allegations of sexual abuse.

Mr Gibson said Pell had displayed a "degree of callous indifference" by continuing his attack on the boys despite their protests.

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