The third highest ranking official in the Catholic Church, Cardinal George Pell, has just been charged with child sex offences. Pell is Australia’s most senior Catholic figure, and caused an uproar two years ago when he was found to have failed child sex abuse victims by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Commission also found that Pell did not act ‘in a Christian manner’ during a court battle against a survivor who said he had been abused as a teenager by a priest from 1974 and 1979. The Commission observed that, through Church procedure, Pell had bullied and intimidated the survivor, and had used the threat of court costs repeatedly to try and force the survivor to withdraw his case.
Pell’s latest statement, in which he says he is “looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously” suggests he still isn’t clear on Christian values.
Pell faces multiple charges, due to several complaints of non recent child sexual abuse against him. The first hearing will be on 18th July, at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.