A Roman Catholic archbishop in Australia is under investigation for child abuse, but some are questioning if the charges are accurate or if the archbishop is being stereotyped.
George Pell, the former archbishop of Sydney, Australia, is currently being investigated for accusations of child abuse dating back to the 1970s, according to the BBC.
Current Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, said Pell has been cooperating with police, according to Religion News. However, he said he is worried Pell is not being treated fairly.
“It is unfortunate that in the very week this happens media and authors publish and repeat allegations, some of which have already been thoroughly answered,” Fisher said in a public statement on May 17th, according to Religion News. “This cannot assist the impartial pursuit of justice. Cardinal Pell has cooperated in every way with multiple police, parliamentary and Royal Commission investigations.”
Fisher is not the only one concerned. Harsh involvement of the public and the media may interfere with Pell’s right to a fair trial, according to the Australian.
After a book was published by ABC reporter Louise Milligan alleging new abuse from the 1990s, Pell and his lawyer Noel Pearson were concerned it may influence his upcoming trial, according to the BBC.
“Ours is a system of law based on prosecution, not persecution,” said Pearson, according to The Australian. Pearson is known for defending controversial cases.
Former Senior prosecutor Geoffrey Horgan has doubts about a fair trial as well, according to The Australian.
“The thing about Pell is he’s just so well-known; so many people have a view,” Horgan said, according to The Australian. “Everyone has heard about the scandal in the Catholic Church and Pell and whether he has been part of it or not … or done enough. If he is tried, he can’t get a fair trial.”