Recently, a jury found that Cardinal George Pell was guilty of sexually assaulting two choir boys in 1996 but has launched an appeal, as he sees himself as innocent of the crime, according to BBC.
Pell is an important figure in the Catholic church as he acts as the Vatican treasurer. His case was heard twice last year, as the first jury failed to reach a verdict but the second one unanimously convicted him of sexually penetrating a child under 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16. These charges were made in December of last year but, because of legal reasons could not be released publicly.
The Vatican has reported that Pell is no longer allowed to serve in public ministry and cannot have any contact with minors. These rules must be abided by until any appeal is over. The Vatican also said that the ruling was painful and that Pell has every right to defend against the charges.
During the hearing, it was revealed that in 1996 after reprimanding two boys for drinking communion wine, he forced them to perform indecent acts and abused them further the next year. There was testimony from one of the boys but the other died from an accidental drug overdose in 2014.
One of the victims described the case as "stressful" and mentioned that he had struggled with "shame, loneliness, depression" because of the abuse.
About a week ago I wrote about two Cardinals saying that gay people are to blame for the string of sexual assaults that occurred and apparently continue to occur within the Catholic church and now Pell is maintaining that he is innocent of these crimes despite the unanimous decision by the jury. How many instances of these assaults will have to be uncovered before the church accepts responsibility?