Australia’s Cardinal Pell Given Special Leave to Appeal Conviction on Child Sexual Abuse
In a blow to victims of clergy sexual abuse and a challenge to the Australian criminal justice system, a cardinal, unanimously convicted of six charges of sexual abuse of a minor by a full and impartial jury of his peers, has been granted special leave to argue for another appeal on his convictions.
We are disappointed that Cardinal George Pell and his lawyers will have yet another opportunity to attack and revictimize the former choirboy from St Patrick’s Cathedral. We are especially dismayed at the aspersions of credibility cast on the survivor after a full jury and the majority of appellate judges ruled to the contrary. While the final arbitration has now been granted Cardinal Pell, the circumstances are working against future victims coming forward to expose wrongdoing and citizens performing their civic duty and devoting a portion of their lives to the search for truth and justice on a criminal trial jury. May the High Court weigh all the matters before them in the appeal by Cardinal Pell and guarantee the integrity of the Australian legal system.
We stand with all sexual abuse survivors in Australia and urge them to not despair at this news but instead find renewed energy and courage to come forward, make a report, and help protect other children from abuse.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for over 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org; our Australia website is SNAPAustralia.org)