Cardinal Pell accuser ‘accepts’ acquittal
A former choirboy who accused Australian Cardinal George Pell of molesting him said Wednesday he accepts the top Vatican cleric’s acquittal, but urged survivors of child sex abuse to keep coming forward.
A day after Australia’s top court quashed Pell’s conviction and released him from jail, “Witness J” said he understood and accepted the court’s verdict.
“There are a lot of checks and balances in the criminal justice system,” the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a statement issued by his lawyer. “I respect the decision of the High Court. I accept the outcome.”
The court found that the jury that convicted the cleric of molesting Witness J and his friend, both 13 years old at the time, should have had a reasonable doubt about his guilt.
“It is difficult in child sexual abuse matters to satisfy a criminal court that the offending has occurred beyond the shadow of a doubt,” Witness J said. “It is a very high standard to meet –- a heavy burden.”
Regardless, he said: “I would hate to think that one outcome of this case is that people are discouraged from reporting to the police.”
“I would like to reassure child sexual abuse survivors that most people recognise the truth when they hear it.”
As many activists expressed concern that Pell’s case would compound survivors’ pain, Witness J also said he was doing “OK” and was relieved the y...
SNAP Conference Postponed to September
As cases of COVID-19 continue to dominate the headlines, affect the way we work and play, and force changes to our daily lives, we have decided to postpone the SNAP Annual Conference from July until September. We are now planning to hold the conference from September 25 - 27 and it will still be held in Denver, CO.
In order to help make this change easier, we will be charging only $99 for registration from now through June 30. Stay tuned for updates and register today on our conference page.SNAP Conference Postponed to September