The NY Times reports:
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s highest court on Tuesday overturned the sexual abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in the church’s clergy pedophilia crisis.Apparently all seven supreme court judges were convinced that Pell was innocent.
Cardinal Pell, 78, who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison last March for molesting two 13-year-old boys after Sunday Mass in 1996.
He walked free on Tuesday after a panel of seven judges ruled that the jury ought to have entertained a doubt about his guilt. The judges cited “compounding improbabilities” to conclude that the verdicts on five counts reached in 2018 were “unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence.”
His case had dragged on for years. His first trial ended with a hung jury; his second carried on with a heavy shroud of secrecy as suppression orders limited what could be reported or even scrutinized.This is so obviously bogus that no one should have taken it seriously. Secret testimony based on recovered memories of incidents that supposedly occurred 20 years earlier? Seriously? With no corroboration of anything the accuser said?
The testimony of the case’s most important witness, a former choirboy who had stepped forward with his claims in 2015, was never made public, not even in transcripts. Legal experts said that made it difficult for the public to comprehend the complexity of the case, as well as the High Court’s ultimate ruling.
This is the only bishop to be convicted on criminal charges, and he was supposedly the best example of misbehavior in the Catholic Church. And the case against him turns out to be bogus. I am wondering if there is any merit to any of the sensationalized charges against the Catholic Church.