Which Australian dish cannot be resisted?
Acquittal for Cardinal Pell
Australia's highest court has ruled: Cardinal Pell is released. The abuse debate continues in Australia: A final report is eagerly awaited.
The Brisbane court on Tuesday overturned the former Vatican economics minister's sentence (78) for sexual abuse in all five cases. Based on the evidence, the jury should have had doubts about the guilt of the accused, according to the unanimous decision of the seven judges published on the Internet.
Pell emphasizes innocence
Pell, who was sentenced to six years in prison in early 2019, was released from prison near Melbourne this Tuesday.
Pell himself received the verdict with great relief. "I have always emphasized my innocence while suffering a grave injustice," Pell said in a statement by email.
«No referendum on the church»
The proceedings against him were not a referendum on the Catholic Church or a referendum on how the Australian Church dealt with sexual abuse in the Church. "It was about whether I had committed these heinous crimes - which I didn't," Pell wrote.
The verdict was delivered by Chief Judge Susan Kiefel in an almost empty room in the Brisbane High Court. Because of the measures against the spread of the coronavirus, the public was excluded from the pronouncement of the verdict. The virus also caused the Canberra High Court seat to close and the rulings to be relocated to Brisbane.
Assault more than 20 years ago
Pell was sentenced to six years in prison in December 2018 on charges of sexual abuse of two choirboys. The jury made the guilty verdict based solely on the testimony of one of the alleged victims. In the summer of 2019, an appeals court upheld Pell's conviction by a majority decision by two of the three judges.
The attack is said to have taken place more than 20 years ago after a high mass in the sacristy of Melbourne Cathedral. According to statements from exonerating witnesses such as the then master of ceremonies Charles Portelli, the abuse was neither temporally nor spatially possible.
Civil law suits possible
It was common practice of the then Archbishop of Melbourne to greet mass visitors on the steps of the cathedral after services. In addition, the sacristy was busy with priests and altar servers after services.
After his release from prison, Pell is threatened with further civil law suits for abuse of young people. Further criminal proceedings for perjury and obstruction of justice are also possible in the case of Pell's statements before the state abuse committee. Evidence for these allegations could be found in the two volumes of the final report of the State Abuse Commission, which will be released after the process now closed.
Canonical procedure in Rome
What the acquittal means for the canonical proceedings against Cardinal Pell is unclear. As with all reported abuse allegations, proceedings are underway against Pell at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (kna / kath.ch)
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