Australia’s former prime minister, John Howard, has provided a positive character reference for disgraced Catholic cardinal George Pell, who has been convicted of multiple counts of child sex abuse.
According to a number of Australian journalists who attended the pre-sentence hearing of Pell at Victoria’s County Court on Wednesday, Howard submitted a character reference after Pell’s conviction.
John Howard’s character reference – and others – for Pell were written in the knowledge he had been convicted of child sex offending. https://t.co/BOPLIF7mN2
— Brett Mcleod (@Brett_McLeod) February 27, 2019
One of those character references is from former Prime Minister John Howard. Defence lawyers making clear Howard submitted his support of Pell AFTER the Cardinal was found guilty of child sexual abuse. @9NewsMelb
— Eliza Rugg (@Eliza_Rugg9) February 27, 2019
#BREAKING: GeorgePell’s lawyer has tended 10 character references, including one from #JohnHoward, written after being made aware of his conviction. Pell is facing a plea hearing today before sentencing.
— Hugh Riminton (@hughriminton) February 27, 2019
Pell was convicted in December of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys in 1996 and 1997 at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral. His identity was not reported until Tuesday in Australia due to a suppression order.
Pell is the highest ranking Catholic official to be convicted of child sex abuse and until recently, was part of Pope Francis’ inner circle. He has appealed the conviction but is expected to be sentenced next week.
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