Australian Cardinal Pell, top Vatican official, found guilty of sexual abuse

MELBOURNE/VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – An Australian court has found Cardinal George Pell, one of the highest ranking Vatican officials and a former top adviser to Pope Francis, guilty on five charges of child sexual offences committed more than two decades ago against 13-year-old boys.

The verdict was made public on Tuesday following the lifting of a court suppression order on the trial, after a second abuse case against Pell — the most senior Catholic clergyman worldwide to be convicted for child sex offences — was dropped by the prosecution.

Pell’s lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict, which embarrassed the Vatican because it became public just two days after a major conference on preventing sex abuse. He had pleaded not guilty to all five charges.

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