Convicted sex-offender George Pell has today had his appeal dismissed by Victoria’s Court of Appeal and will continue to serve his sentence for abusing two boys after Sunday masses at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne.
Reason Leader and Member for Northern Metropolitan, Fiona Patten said this morning she was pleased and comforted that the Court had dismissed Mr Pell’s appeal.
“He will now remain in jail until he is eligible for parole and this is the right outcome,” Ms Patten said.
The disgraced cardinal has spent more than 170 days in jail, including his 78th birthday, as part of a six-year prison term after his conviction earlier this year.
Ms Patten said today however was about the victims.
“Let’s remember, that this has always been about the victims,” she said.
“We believe the victims and we honour their courage. It’s only through the bravery they mustered to tell their harrowing stories that this shocking abuse was brought to light.
“It’s them I’m thinking about today.”
Ms Patten has been a long-time advocate for investigating cases of child sex abuse in institutions in Australia, most notably the Catholic Church.
“For many years now, since I first published my book Hypocrites in 2001 exposing child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, I have pushed for the offending of the clergy to be investigated,” she said.
“Today, with the most senior Catholic, not just in Australia but the world, having his conviction confirmed by the courts I feel as though that long journey has been worth it.”
Ms Patten is now calling on the Pope to act.
“Mr Pell is a child abuser,” Ms Patten said.
“The Vatican should ex-communicate him from the Church immediately. Catholics worldwide should know that the Church doesn’t tolerate abusers in their ranks.”
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