Former Vatican treasurer George Pell has been convicted of molesting two choirboys while he was Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia in the 1990’s. Pell faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the two crimes, but denies the charges and is appealing his conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13th.
Both alleged victims were 13-years-old at the time. One claims that Pell exposed himself to them, fondled them, masturbated, and forced one of them to perform a sex act on him.
Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, in seeking a lesser sentence for his client, originally downplayed the alleged sexual abuse of the two minors, saying the assaults were “on the low end of offending.” He characterized it as “no more than a case where a child is not volunteering or actively participating.”
It was just “plain vanilla sexual penetration?!” That’s his defense?! What the Hell?! At that point, it wouldn’t have been surprising if he had then proceeded to explain that, “It was just garden-variety sexual activity. Not particularly kinky, no anal beads, French ticklers, illicit drugs, or small rodents involved at all. Really bland and, frankly, not terribly exciting or imaginative.” That the child was “not volunteering or actively participating” does not make Pell’s case any more compelling. It makes it sound even more like statutory rape. With a lawyer like that, Pell will be lucky if he doesn’t get the gas chamber. And, if he’s guilty, he’d deserve it.
Richter’s remarks prompted a response from Victorian County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd (that is a singularly unfortunate name in this particular case), who said: “I see this as a serious example of this kind of offending…There was an element of brutality to this assault.” Is there a non-serious example of this kind of offending?
Richter has since apologized, claiming he “misspoke.”
Mr. Richter, that’s plain vanilla bullshit.