Voir ci-dessous quelques réactions dans la presse ( la presse farnçaise ne donne presque pas d’informations précises sur le déroulement du procès). Le Cardinal Pell a décidé de faire appel du jugement dévoilé le 27 février 2019.
Selon Vatican news
Fin juin 2017, il est formellement accusé d’agression sexuelle sur mineurs. La police de Ballarat ne donne alors que des informations partielles et parle de plusieurs plaignants sans donner d’autres détails. Appelé à comparaitre le 26 juillet 2017, le cardinal Pell se met en congé du Secrétariat pour l’Économie afin d’assurer sa défense. Il affirme alors que les accusations portées contre lui sont infondées et rappelle qu’il considère les abus sexuels comme étant «des crimes horribles».
Notez que le seul plaignant entendu n’a pas dévoilé son identité.
Les avocats du prélat soulignent que des deux anciens servants d’autel qui, selon l’accusation, auraient été molestés par le cardinal, un seul a témoigné au procès, mais son identité a été tenue secrète par les enquêteurs. L’autre plaignant étant décédé récemment.
Dans le journal américain FIRST THINGS, extrait de l’article de George Weigel (Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington‘s Ethics and Public Policy Center)
The case against Pell has been fraught with implausibility and worse from the outset. The Victoria police went on a fishing expedition against Pell, a year before any complaint had been received from an alleged victim. The committal hearing, which dismissed many of the charges the police brought, ought to have dismissed all of them; but amidst a public atmosphere that bears comparison to Salem, Massachusetts, during the witchcraft hysteria of the seventeenth century, a criminal trial was decreed. At that trial, and after Pell’s defense demonstrated that it was physically impossible for the crimes with which he was charged to have occurred, a jury voted 10-2 to acquit him; but that meant a hung jury (several of whose members wept as their verdict was read), and the Crown decided to proceed with a re-trial. At the re-trial, Pell’s defense team demonstrated that ten implausible and improbable things would have had to have happened simultaneously for him to be guilty of the charges; there was no corroboration of the complainant’s charges; there was ample refutation of the very possibility of the vile acts with which Pell was charged having occurred by others present that day; the police were shown to have been grossly negligent in investigating the alleged crime scene—and yet the second jury voted 12-0 for conviction, after what can reasonably be supposed to have been their refusal to take seriously the trial judge’s instructions on how evidence was to be construed.
Extrait du récit du procès (extrait d’un article du journaliste australien Frank Brennan dans The Australian) .
Members of the public could hear all the evidence except a recording of the complainant’s evidence from the first trial. The complainant, who cannot be identified, did not give evidence at the retrial; the recording from the first trial was admitted as the complainant’s evidence.
The recording was available to the public only insofar as it was quoted by the barristers in their examination of other witnesses or in their final addresses to the jury, and by the judge in his charge to the jury. So, no member of the public has a complete picture of the evidence and no member of the public is able to make an assessment of the complainant’s demeanour.[…]
The complainant claimed that a month or so later, after a Sunday Mass when the archbishop was presiding (but not celebrating the Mass), Pell came along the corridor outside the sacristy where many choristers and others were milling about.
He claimed that Pell grabbed him briefly, put him against the wall, and firmly grasped his genitalia. This was the subject of the fifth charge.
Pell knew neither boy and had no contact with either of them thereafter.
The prosecution case was that Pell at his first or second solemn Sunday Mass as archbishop decided for some unknown reason to abandon the procession and his liturgical assistants and hasten from the Cathedral entrance to the sacristy unaccompanied by his Master of Ceremonies Monsignor Charles Portelli while the liturgical procession was still concluding.
Portelli and the long time sacristan Max Potter described how the archbishop would be invariably accompanied after a solemn Mass with procession until one of them had assisted the archbishop to divest in the sacristy.
There was ample evidence that the Archbishop was a stickler for liturgical form and that he developed strict protocols in his time as archbishop, stopping at the entrance to the Cathedral after Mass to greet parishioners usually for 10 to 20 minutes, before returning to the sacristy to disrobe in company with his Master of Ceremonies.