Australian Cardinal George Pell remains firm on his stand that he is innocent and will plead not guilty to all accusations against him, his lawyer told Melbourne court. Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, said Pell will continue to “maintain the presumed innocence that he has.”
Pell, who has received multiple complaints for sexual abuse, did not talk during the hearing. A plea from Pel wasn’t required but he only did so to satisfy both public and media interest, Richter said as per The Guardian.
Interest in this case is large as media and regular citizens flocked the area. BBC reports that the Australian Cardinal also had plenty of supporters who gathered around the Melbourne court.
Prosecutor Andrew Tinney warned media men and the public that they shouldn’t speculate regarding the outcome of the case. “The director of public prosecutions has already had to write a number of media outlets with regard to articles that appeared to be in breach of those rules that apply.”
As reported by Life Site, Bill Donohue, who is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said media men “sported their true colors” when they chimed their opinions regarding Pell’s sexual assault case. “The New York Times posted a web story saying, ‘The case will test the credibility of Francis’ efforts to foster greater accountability after abuse scandals have shaken the church around the word.”
Donohue also pointed out a “ridiculous” report from the Associated Press: “For Francis, they are a threat to his credibility, given he famously promised a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for sex abuse in the church.”
According to Donohue, linking the credibility of Pope Francis to Pell is “moot” as the Australian Cardinal has yet to be convicted, which means Francis can’t act on the issue. “Cardinal Pell has never been convicted of covering up or abusing anyone, yet unspecified accusations made by anonymous accusers are enough to test the credibility of his boss for not holding him accountable? Accountable for what?”