Columnist Andrew Bolt has defended George Pell, claiming the senior Catholic Cardinal has been falsely convicted of child sex abuse against two teenagers.
Bolt appeared on Sky News on Tuesday night, hours after Pell’s guilty verdict was revealed after a suppression order on the case was lifted by the court, where he claimed that Pell is a scapegoat and certainly not a child abuser.
Listing his reasoning, Bolt said there is a mounting pile of evidence to suggest Pell never abused the two 13-year-old boys, including the fact one of the boys, who died years ago, denied the abuse, while the other didn’t speak of it until 2015.
The host of television show The Bolt Report claimed Pell is too intelligent and cautious to risk his career, and never would’ve undertaken such acts in a place that was usually quite busy.
The court heard that Pell confronted the two boys in the priests’ sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral after they snuck away from procession, undoing his pants and forcing the head of one of the boys close to his genitals. He then moved to the second boy and put his penis in the boy’s mouth.
He was also found guilty of forcing the second boy to lower his pants and sexually assaulting him, and of later masturbating while assaulting the second boy.
However, Bolt said it is unlikely this is true as none of the other choristers who gave evidence noticed the boys sneak away to break into the sacristy, and didn’t see them rejoin the choir later.
“Pell was normally followed everywhere during and after Mass by the master of ceremonies, Monsignor Charles Portelli, who testified that he escorted the then Archbishop from the moment he arrived at the cathedral, until the moment he left,” Bolt said.
“He declared the assault impossible. Not a single witness from what was a busy cathedral at the time of the alleged abuse noticed a thing during the estimated 10 minutes of this alleged attack.”
Bolt went on to say how Pell had been falsely accused in the past, and perhaps the two boys had misremembered the traumatic event. He defended the cardinal claiming there is no history or pattern of similar abuse by Pell like there is with paedophiles such as Gerald Ridsdale who raped or assaulted at least 65 children.
“Pell had been accused very often of serious offences by people who were plainly wrong,” Bolt said. “Maybe they misremembered. Maybe they had the wrong guy.
“Or maybe they were looking for someone to pay for some past trauma, and chose the man that the media has vilified ever since he emerged as the church’s most articulate – and conservative – advocate in this country.”
He added: “In my opinion, this is our own OJ Simpson case, but in reverse. A man was found guilty not on the facts but on the prejudice”.
The country was rocked yesterday when the news broke that Pell had been convicted of five counts of sexual child abuse against the two 13-year-old choirboys during his time as Archbishop of Melbourne.
Following the lifting of a gag order on Tuesday, it was revealed that the 77-year-old had been convicted of the charges on December 11, 2o18 at Melbourne’s county court, after the jury delivered a unanimous verdict. The Australian media had been unable to report on the trial until Tuesday as the judge had placed a suppression order on the case.
The Cardinal, who was previously dubbed “third in command” of the Catholic church due to his role as Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican, will front court again on Wednesday morning for a pre-sentence hearing. However, Pell’s case is also listed before the Court of Appeal on Wednesday afternoon where he is expected to apply for bail before two appeals judges at 2.30pm.