(26 Feb 2019) Reaction poured in on Tuesday to the news that the most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted in Australia of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass.
Darryl Smith, a self-described sex abuse survivor from New Zealand, welcomed the conviction of Cardinal George Pell and said that it was “about time that a person high up within the Vatican to be charged and also to be convicted of crimes against children.”
Smith was in Rome to join various events organised by ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), an international survivors’ network, during the Vatican summit on child protection.
He told his story of abuse at a survivors’ meeting on Friday afternoon and joined the marches organised by other survivors who gathered in Rome.
Pell is Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and the Vatican’s economy minister.
He bowed his head as a 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.
The 77-year-old faces a potential maximum 50-year prison term after a sentencing hearing which begins on Wednesday.
He has foreshadowed an appeal.