Cardinal George Pell says he was spat on and abused by fellow prisoners while serving time in jail for historical child sex offences and that, in his darkest hours, he contemplated abandoning his fight to clear his name. Source: The Australian.
Opening up about his time behind bars, Cardinal Pell also said the fact he was despised by many of his fellow inmates for being a convicted child sex offender actually helped restore his faith in the natural “existence of right and wrong”.
Cardinal Pell was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2019 after being found guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s.
He served 13 months in Melbourne Assessment Prison and Barwon Prison, near Geelong, before his convictions were overturned on appeal in the High Court in April this year.
Despite maintaining his innocence throughout the police investigation and ensuing trial, Cardinal Pell said he almost gave up on trying to have the convictions overturned after his first appeal failed in August 2019 before receiving encouragement from the Melbourne prison boss, who urged him to persevere.
Cardinal Pell was released from prison after the full bench of the High Court unanimously quashed his convictions on April 7.
He said his Catholic faith sustained him, especially the understanding that his suffering need not be pointless but could be “united with Christ Our Lord’s”.
“I never felt abandoned, knowing the Lord was with me even as I didn’t understand what he was doing for most of the 13 months,” the Cardinal writes.
Abused and despised, George Pell contemplated giving up his fight (By Steve Jackson, The Australian)
George Pell: How I survived hell on earth (The Australian)