Lawyers for ex-Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday filed an appeal to Australia’s High Court in a final bid to overturn his conviction for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys, the High Court said.
Pell is seeking leave to appeal the state of Victoria’s Court of Appeal ruling which upheld his conviction on five charges of abusing two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell, the highest ranking Catholic worldwide to be convicted of child sex offences, was sentenced in March to six years in jail after being found guilty on five charges of abusing the two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the late 1990s.
Supreme Court of Victoria Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said on Wednesday that two of the three judges hearing Pell’s appeal “decided that it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty of the offences charged” and rejected his appeal.
The jury in the trial heard testimony from a victim who described how Pell had exposed himself to the two boys, fondled their genitals and masturbated and forced one boy to perform a sex act on him. The other victim died in 2014.