George Pell, Australian Cardinal convicted of child abuse and later acquitted, dies at 81

Archive – Australian Cardinal George Pell in Rome, Italy. – EVANDRO INETTI / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Australian Cardinal George Pell died Tuesday at the age of 81 in Vatican City, Rome, who was convicted in 2019 of child abuse and later, after spending thirteen months in prison, acquitted of his charges.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher confirmed that Pell passed away «in the early hours of this morning,» maintaining that «this news is a great shock.» «Pray for the repose of Cardinal Pell’s soul, for the comfort of his family and all who loved and mourn him at this time.»

Pell, who was former Vatican treasurer between 2014 and 2019 and Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic cleric, had been the highest-ranking church figure jailed for child abuse.

The cardinal, who maintained his innocence, spent 13 months–from February 2019 to April 2020–in Australian jails before being cleared of child abuse charges by the High Court of Australia.