Cardinal George Pell Convicted of Abusing Children, SNAP Responds

Yesterday, the third most powerful Vatican official was found guilty on multiple charges of abusing children in the 1990s.

Cardinal George Pell is the highest-ranking church official to ever go on trial for sex crime charges. We hope that his conviction will not only bring healing to his victims in Australia, but hope to survivors across the world who are yearning for accountability at the top levels of the church.

Unfortunately, many survivors in Australia may not learn about this news due to a gag order imposed on the case which prevents the publication of details – including Cardinal Pell’s name and the charges against him. While such an order may have made sense during the trial, it certainly does not now that the Cardinal has been convicted of these crimes. We hope that the judge will lift this order and allow Australian newspapers to share the information learned during the trial. This would encourage more survivors – whether of Cardinal Pell or any other church official – to come forward and make a report.

We believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant. By sharing the details of this case with the public, people become more knowledgeable about what crimes have occurred and what failures along the way allowed those crimes to happen. This knowledge in turn will makes them better able to prevent similar cases in the future. Church officials in the United States regularly pledge “transparency” as a solution to clergy sex crimes, and we hope that the judiciary in Australia will be transparent with their citizens on the facts of this case.

CONTACT: Steven Spaner, SNAP Australia Coordinator (snapspaner@gmail.com, +1 636.433.2511),  Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, +1-517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2018-12-12 16:51:47 -0600
    As is the case here in the US and in many of the diocese in Pennsylvania, the Church does what it can to avoid further criminal liability. In the diocese where I live, it is under federal investigation; a move that I wholeheartedly support!
    Rich, MSW

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