August 21, 2019 / 6:42 AM / 3 months ago

Vatican acknowledges Pell abuse decision, says he has right to appeal

George Pell departs the Supreme Court of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, August 21, 2019. AAP Image/Stefan Postles via REUTERS

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday acknowledged the Australian court decision to uphold Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on sexual abuse but said he has a right to another appeal.

A statement was issued hours after Pell, the former Vatican finance minister, lost an appeal in Melbourne against his conviction for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys. The decision means he will remain in prison for at least another three years.

“As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court,” the statement said.

“At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse,” it said.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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