Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell found guilty of sexually abusing choirboys

Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell found guilty of sexually abusing choirboys

MELBOURNE, Australia – The most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after c

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MELBOURNE, Australia – The most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass, dealing a new blow to the Catholic hierarchy’s credibility after a year of global revelations of abuse and coverup.Story continues below

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and the Vatican’s economy minister, bowed his head but then regained his composure as the 12-member jury delivered unanimous verdicts in the Victoria state County Court on Dec. 11 after more than two days of deliberation.The court had until Tuesday forbidden publication of any details about the trial.ANALYSIS: What Vatican’s sex abuse prevention summit got right — and what it missedThe convictions were confirmed the same week that Francis concluded his extraordinary summit of Catholic leaders summoned to Rome for a tutorial on preventing clergy sexual abuse and protecting children from predator priests.The jury convicted Pell of abusing two 13-year-old boys whom he had caught swigging sacramental wine in a rear room of Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996, as hundreds of worshippers were streaming out of Sunday services.Pell, now 77 but 55 at the time, had just been named the most senior Catholic in Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne.WATCH: What Canadians can take away from Vatican summit

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