Australia's Cardinal Pell remanded into custody for child sex offences

Australia's Cardinal Pell remanded into custody for child sex offences

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic clergyman worldwide to be convicted of child sex offences, has had his bail revoked in the County Court in Melbourne.

Tuesday, the Vatican said it would await that verdict before taking any action, but confirmed restrictions on Pell.

"There has been a breach of trust in this case in the sense that Cardinal Pell was the driving force and in charge of this cathedral and these two choristers were a cog in the cathedral Sunday masses".

Cardinal George Pell leaves court in Melbourne on March 5, 2018.

The outcome of that committal process was that Pell would face two jury trials.

The disclosure comes after a previous trial on the same five charges dating back to August ended in a hung jury.

"Cardinal Pell has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so", Pell's lawyer, Paul Galbally, said outside the court.

Prosecutors and the defence can take several months to submit their written arguments and counter-arguments to Victoria state's Court of Appeal before a hearing by a bench of three judges.

The statement said: "It is painful news that, we are well aware, has shocked many people, not only in Australia". The survivors wore badges emblazoned with quotes about child abuse from Pell over the years; "it was not of much interest to me" and "it's all gossip until it's proven in a court".

Pentin acknowledged that there's speculation in the Eternal City that Pell, widely regarded as the third most powerful man in the Vatican, was the victim of a conspiracy to oust him.

Pope Francis removed Pell as a member of his informal cabinet in October.

"Pell was extremely unpopular in parts of the Vatican, particularly the old guard keen on keeping the old system running because they were doing so well out of it", Pentin told The Age.

"His state of mind suggests he had some degree of confidence as to the unlikelihood that these two boys would complain", he said. For it is not George Pell who is on trial now, as his conviction is appealed and the cardinal, with the serenity and equanimity with which he has faced this latest assault on his character, spends time in a Melbourne jail: "on retreat", as he's put it to friends. He is expected to appeal.

But now they say they will not be making any changes to the decor as Pell moves forward with his appeal.

Pell was found guilty by a jury in December of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old choirboy in 1996 and molesting another at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli said neither his archdiocese, where Pell served at the time of the assaults, nor "any other church body" was paying the legal costs.

A month later, the victim said that Pell pushed him against a wall and grabbed his genitals.

Robert Richter QC has argued his alleged offending was at the low end of the scale.

He said it was improbable the boys would leave the procession unnoticed.

But unusually, Pell wasn't taken into custody immediately because he had surgery scheduled to have both knees replaced.

Richter also questioned the complainant's credibility.

"He did it. He engaged in some shocking conduct against two boys".

Pell described the charges as "a load of garbage and falsehood".

"While waiting for the final judgment, we join the Australian bishops in praying for all the victims of abuse, reaffirming our commitment to do everything possible so that the Church is a safe house for everyone, especially for children and the most vulnerable", reported The Guardian.

The jury's decision was unanimous, media reports.

"Cardinal Pell is prohibited from exercising public ministry and from having any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors", said Vatican spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti.

On Wednesday the Vatican confirmed Pell was "no longer the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy".

"The sacristy after Mass is generally a hive of activity", Pell said.

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