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Sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church–as well as other churches–is a horrible scandal. That does not mean, however, that every clergyman accused of these crimes is guilty. And the climate of outrage about these revelations can lend itself to false accusations, hoaxes, and a lynch mob mentality.
A prominent conservative churchman, Cardinal George Pell, was accused of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choir boys in 1996 when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in Australia. He was recently tried, convicted, and sentenced to six years in prison.
But there are compelling reasons to believe that he is innocent.
According to the man who testified that he was abused, Cardinal Pell caught the two choir boys in the vestry immediately after Mass, where they had gotten into the Communion wine. In the course of chastising them, Cardinal Pell allegedly forced them to perform oral sex.
Shocking - Story - Others - Pedophile - Priests
A shocking, repellant story, similar to others that we have heard about pedophile, homosexual priests. But there are major problems with that story.
To give a few: Cardinal Pell was always accompanied by an assistant before, during, and after mass. After mass, the sacristan (the person in charge of preparing the communion vessels, etc.) was in the vestry straightening things up. The vestry doors were open, with other people coming and going. Immediately after Mass, Cardinal Pell always was at the door greeting the parishioners. Choir practice was held immediately after Mass, and the director testified that the boys were present and did not come in late. The alleged victim said that the wine the boys were drinking was red, but the cathedral used white wine, which was put not in the vestry but in a locked vault. At most, discounting all of the other traffic in the vestry, the Cardinal could have had only six minutes in which he could...
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