The conviction of Cardinal George Pell, you will recall, was based upon the evidence of one man, remembering events long ago. It now appears that memory may have played one of its usual tricks.
Keith Windschuttle, an Australian historian and journalist, has uncovered the description of assault allegations made against an American priest published in the September 2011 of the Rolling Stone magazine. Windschuttle has uncovered ‘uncanny’ resemblances between the two cases.
In both cases the sexual abuse occurred in the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In both cases, the victims had been drinking wine they found in the sacristy. In both cases the boys involved had assisted in the celebration of the Mass. In both cases the priest is alleged to have fondled the boys’ genitals.
In both cases the boys were made to kneel before the priest.
The resemblances are startling.
Is it possible that the man in the Pell cases remembered and applied to himself the article which he had read, and become genuinely convinced that the account had happened in reality and to himself? In a climate of anti-Catholic frenzy, the Victorian Police, even if they had lighted on the article in question, would have been unlikely to follow it up. They knew their duty: which was conviction