Australian court drops gag order after conviction of high-ranking Catholic cardinal

Australian court drops gag order after conviction of high-ranking Catholic cardinal
© Getty Images

An Australian court has dropped a gag order preventing news organizations from covering the trials of Cardinal George Pell, a high-ranking Roman Catholic leader, after a second trial for him was canceled. 

With the gag order lifted, news outlets reported Monday evening that Pell was convicted in December of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys.

ADVERTISEMENT

A judge had prevented news organizations from publishing details of that trial over concerns that news coverage would bias the jury in a second trial. The second trial would have focused on allegations of child abuse from the 1970s, according to The New York Times.

In the earlier trial, Pell was convicted of forcing oral sex onto a teenage boy following a Mass in Melbourne, the Times reported. He was also reportedly convicted of separately assaulting another boy.

In December, an Australian newspaper printed a front page calling attention to the gag order, which prevented it from publishing information about Pell's trial.

“The world is reading a very important story that is relevant to Victorians,” the story's subhead read at the time. “The Herald Sun is prevented from publishing details of this significant news. But trust us. It’s a story you deserve to read.”