Cardinal George Pell told a 13-year-old boy he was ‘in trouble’ before carrying out a horrific sex attack.
During Pell’s trial, the County Court of Victoria heard the former Vatican treasurer had ‘planted himself in the doorway and said something like ‘what are you doing here’ or ‘you’re in trouble’,’ before forcing himself on the young boy and his friend.
Pell’s victims were both 13-year-old boys on scholarships at the prestigious St Kevin’s College.
One has died, but a second gave evidence through video link, and his statement was later quoted by Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC to the court.
The victim, who was a choirboy at St Patrick’s Cathedral at the time of the offences, said he was too stunned by the shocking events to say anything to anyone when it first happened.
‘I didn’t complain to anyone at that time,’ he wrote in the statement. ‘It felt like an anomaly. I was in shock and didn’t tell.’
George Pell (pictured) told his two 13-year-old victims ‘you’re in trouble’ before exposing himself and assaulting them, a court heard
The two young boys had ‘nicked off’ after a Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral (pictured) in 1996 when Pell found them in the priest’s sacristy
‘It’s something I’ve carried for the whole of my life… it took a courage much later in life for me to even think about coming forward.’
The victim, who is now in his 30s, gave evidence via video link to avoid being in the same room as Pell.
He said he and his friend had ‘nicked off’ after a Sunday solemn mass in December 1996 and were caught swigging sacramental wine in the priest’s sacristy by Pell, newly installed as Archbishop of Melbourne.
They were confronted by Pell, who told them they were ‘in trouble’, before exposing his penis from beneath his ornate ceremonial robes, and molesting the two young boys.
The court was closed for the survivor’s evidence of the events that followed – his recollection of standing frozen, watching his friend ‘squirm’ as his head was pulled toward Pell’s genitals.
‘Then he turned to me,’ he said.
The world’s third most powerful Catholic was found guilty in December, but his sentence was under a suppression order in Australia until Tuesday
The surviving victim, who cannot be identified, recalled Pell orally raping him and demanding he then remove his pants, which he did.
Pell fondled the boy’s genitals while masturbating himself. The teen put his pants back on and together the boys rejoined their choir.
Afraid of jeopardising his schooling and not understanding what had happened or ‘if it was normal’, the survivor didn’t say a word for years.
Not even when, a month or so later, Pell shoved him against a wall in a cathedral corridor and fondled his genitals.
Pell, 77, is the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex offences anywhere in the world.
He was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault and one count of rape by a Victorian jury last December, following three days of deliberations.
Pell (pictured left in 2011 and right in 2019) was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault and one count of rape by a jury at the County Court of Victoria
The Pell verdict can finally be revealed after a second trial over allegations Pell indecently assaulted boys in regional Victoria in the 1970s was abandoned.
That result meant a gag order preventing the verdict from being published in the Australian media was finally lifted after more than two months.
After the verdict, Mr Pell’s victim released a statement which explained the massive toll the Cardinal’s actions had taken on his life.
‘Like many survivors, I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life,’ he wrote.
‘At some point, we realise we trusted someone we should have feared, and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust.’
Pell has repeatedly and vehemently denied the accusations against him and Pope Francis had granted him a leave of absence to return to Australia to defend himself. He has lodged an appeal against his conviction.
The Pell verdict can finally be revealed after a second trial over allegations Pell indecently assaulted boys in regional Victoria in the 1970s was abandoned
According to a chilling victim statement, read out to the jury and quoted in court, the former choirboy said he was in too much shock to complain at the time of the attack
In a statement released on Tuesday, Pell again maintained his innocence, and said he would be appealing the decision.
‘An appeal has been lodged against his conviction, and he will await the outcome of the appeal process,’ the statement read.
‘Although originally the Cardinal faced allegations from a number of complainants, all charges except for those [that are] the subject of the appeal have now been either withdrawn, discharged or discontinued.
‘He will not be commenting in the meantime.’
One of the victims, now in his 30s, brought the allegations to police after years of having struggled to understand what he’d experienced.
The boy said he was sexually assaulted again by Pell a month or so after he was raped, recalling that he was pushed against a cathedral wall by the now-Cardinal.
‘He shoved me against the wall violently and squeezed my genitals,’ the court was told.
Pell’s other victim died in 2014 in accidental circumstances.
The Cardinal is yet to be sentenced, but is expected to be jailed for his crimes, with Chief Judge Peter Kidd telling Pell’s legal counsel he would be remanded into custody on Wednesday.
Pell’s victim said the attack had caused him to feel ‘shame, loneliness, depression and struggle’