Australian court revokes Cardinal George Pell′s bail | News | DW | 27.02.2019
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Australian court revokes Cardinal George Pell's bail

Australian Cardinal George Pell will spend two weeks in prison while awaiting sentencing after his bail was revoked. A jury in December found Pell unanimously guilty of molesting two 13-year-old boys in 1996.

Australian Cardinal George Pell will spend his first night in prison after a judge revoked his bail on Wednesday.

Victorian state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd revoked Pell's bail at the end of a sentencing hearing before corrections officers took him into custody. Kidd said he would deliver Pell's sentence on March 13.

Read more: Sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church

In December, a jury unanimously found Pell guilty of molesting two 13-year-olds in a rear room of St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, just weeks after he became archbishop of Australia's second-largest city Melbourne.

He is the most senior Catholic cleric to ever be convicted of child sexual abuse and faces a potential 50-year prison sentence for five convictions of sexual penetration and indecent acts involving the two boys.

Watch video 01:44

Australian court convicts Cardinal Pell of child sex abuse

Pell was not taken into custody immediately after the conviction in December because he had double knee replacement surgery scheduled.

Pope Francis removed Pell as a member of his informal Cabinet in October. He had remained prefect of the Vatican's economy ministry, but his five-year term expired this month, acting Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.

The Vatican has also banned Pell from public ministry or having contact with children.

Gag order lifted

The court had until Tuesday forbidden the publication of any details related to the trial because Pell was due to face a second trial in April on charges that he indecently assaulted two boys aged between nine and 12 as a young priest in the late 1970s in a public pool in his hometown of Ballarat.

But prosecutor Fran Dalziel told the court on Tuesday that the Ballarat charges had been dropped and asked for the suppression order to be lifted.

The move came days after a judge ruled out two key prosecution witnesses in the Ballarat case.

law/jil (AFP, AP, dpa)

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