Melbourne, Australia, May 28, 2019 / 15:05 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March after being convicted of five counts of sexual abuse of minors in December 2018, will not ask for a shorter sentence if his appeal fails to overturn his conviction.
Pell must serve at least three years and eight months of the sentence. He has been jailed since February. He was convicted of one count of “sexual penetration of a child” and four counts of “committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.”
He was specifically convicted of assaulting two choirboys in the sacristy of the Melbourne cathedral in 1996, and fondling one of the choirboys in a corridor.
News of the trial was not broadcast in Australia due to a gag order issued by Judge Peter Kidd. This gag order was lifted upon Pell’s sentencing.
Pell’s legal team has submitted three grounds for their appeal.
Pell and his lawyers argue that the jury could not have been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of Pell’s guilt due to the presence of “unchallenged exculpatory evidence” from 20 witnesses. Only one of Pell’s victims is still alive, and the other, deceased, victim repeatedly denied prior to his death that he had ever been abused.