Australia PM 'appalled,'shocked' by Pell child sex abuse conviction

Canberra - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday he was "appalled" and "shocked" by the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty of molesting two choirboys.

"My first thoughts when I saw this yesterday, read this yesterday, went to all the victims of child sexual abuse in institutions," Morrison told reporters in Tasmania.

"I’ve listened to their stories and I know their pain."
In October, Morrison made an emotional national apology to thousands of victims of child sexual abuse, saying Australia must acknowledge and apologize for the "lost screams of our children."
A five-year inquiry had found that tens of thousands of children were sexually abused between 1960 and 2015 in various institutions in Australia, including schools, churches and religious organizations. 
Seven per cent of all priests had allegedly abused children and 62 per cent of victims who reported abuse in a religious institutions were from Catholic-managed institutions, the 2017 report found.
"I know their pain... they would have felt it all again yesterday and it would have been a really tough day for them and it’ll be tough again today as these issues continue," Morrison said.
Pell, 77, is the highest-ranking Catholic figure to be convicted of child sexual abuse charges after a Melbourne jury found him guilty of raping a choirboy and molesting another in 1996. 
"I was appalled and shocked. I think any Australian would be to read of those events, but it shows that no one is above the law in this country," Morrison said.
"We do have the law in this country and that law requires a process now to be followed."
To those who have been victims of child sexual abuse, Morrison said, "Know that we’re thinking of you."
"Know that there are people around you who love and care for you and want the best for you. You are not alone and we know it happened and we are there with you."
Morrison also said the government would wait for Pell's appeal process to finish before considering revoking his official honours, including the Companion of the Order of Australia, the nation's highest honour, which he received in 2005.
Pell will be sentenced on March 13. 


Wednesday, February 27th 2019

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