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The following exchange between Damien Cave, our Australia bureau chief, and Livia Albeck-Ripka, a Times reporter based in Melbourne, Australia, examines the challenges of reporting on the trials of Cardinal George Pell, the highest ranking Catholic clergyman convicted of sexually abusing children.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced to six years in prison.
Damien: When I first saw Cardinal George Pell walking into court many months ago, his broad shoulders slumped, his eyes down, I immediately thought of all the Catholic priests I knew growing up in Massachusetts.
One of the first stories I ever wrote involved wrestling with what happened to Father Ron, a priest I had known as a child who was later convicted of taking pictures of a partially dressed 10-year-old boy in a YMCA locker room.
But this time, Australia prevented that kind of public discussion: A judge’s suppression order prohibited publishing details on the proceedings while they were going on. The restrictions were meant to keep the jury in a second and related trial from being prejudiced by information gleaned from the first trial.
The result was a media blackout — starting in April, when the case was sent to trial — for the highest-ranking Vatican official to be tried for abusing children.
Australian and international news outlets with offices in the country were all silenced, including The Times, Reuters and The Associated Press. Anything published online and visible in Australia, including basic information like the number of complainants and what exactly he had been accused of, could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and jail time for journalists.
Even telling readers about the suppression order itself, because it was a court document related to the proceedings, would be seen as breaking the law.
And that was just one layer of the judicial secrecy.
Livia: Cardinal Pell’s first trial ended with a hung jury. It was hard to know why, just as it was hard to know what to expect from the do-over, because the case turned almost entirely on the credibility of one complainant whose testimony the public did not see or hear.
That complainant is now 35. But in 1996, he was one of two 13-year-old boys who ducked into a room at the back of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne after a Sunday mass, where they said the Cardinal found them and molested them.
One boy, the main complainant, reported that Cardinal Pell pulled aside his vestments and forced his penis into the boy’s mouth. The second complainant died a few years ago, leaving only one victim for the jury to hear.
And yet only snippets of his firsthand testimony were ever shared beyond the judge, the police, the legal teams and the 12 jurors, in what Australian law deems a necessary measure to protect a victim’s identity.
Reporters furiously transcribed the only excerpts from his account that were read in court by the prosecution, which emphasized his reaction: “I was young and I didn’t really know what had happened to me; I didn’t know if it was normal.”
Repeatedly, we asked the court, together with other publications, for access to a video of the man’s testimony, or audio, or a transcript.
He was no longer a child and his identity could still be protected. We wanted to understand the most important piece of evidence. We wanted to be able to explain to the public how the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers dealt with his account, to ensure public accountability.
But the judge, Peter Kidd, refused.
Damien: After covering the first trial, which ended with a hung jury and a few jurors crying as they departed, I didn’t expect a guilty verdict.
From what I had seen over the handful of months that the case played out, the prosecution seemed less organized and persuasive than the defense, and Cardinal Pell did not look particularly worried.
On December 14, that all changed.
Livia: The jury had been deliberating for just over three days when we received word from the County Court of Victoria’s media team that a verdict was “imminent.”
In the courtroom, Cardinal Pell’s usual stoic demeanor seemed to break for the first time. He stared nervously ahead, holding a fist below his chin. As throughout the trial, he wore a slightly oversized suit and a clerical collar.
His defense lawyer, Robert Richter, sat at the bar with his hands clasped in front of his face.
“Mr. Foreman and members of the jury, have you agreed upon your verdict?” asked the judge’s assistant. The foreman responded, “We have.”
Each charge was read out, and met with a response from the foreman: “Guilty.” Gasps were heard. The cardinal slumped forward.
I sent a message to Damien: “GUILTY.” His reply included an expletive.
I went home and starting writing; we had no idea what or when we would publish, possibly breaking the suppression order, and the law.
Damien: We had some elements of the story pre-written and it wasn’t long before we had a draft that, if Cardinal Pell had been charged in the United States, we would have immediately published online.
But the suppression order complicated everything. I talked with our editors in Hong Kong, then began an email chain with a group of senior editors in New York. Though we’d all been dealing with the Pell trial for a while by that point, we were still unsure about whether to just publish or find some way to abide by the order.
We explored having the story written from Rome, but even then, our lawyers in Australia told us, the judge would likely hold us — the local reporters — in contempt. Any detail reported from the court would make us vulnerable.
Next, with help from software developers in the newsroom, we considered geo-blocking — keeping an online story out of Australia.
That’s what at least one outlet, The Daily Beast, did. But it wasn’t clear whether that would work for us; the ubiquity of The Times and our broader readership made it hard to imagine a scenario in which someone in Australia didn’t see the online version and start sharing it on social media, making us subject to the court’s suppression order.
Our lawyers also made clear to us that the judge would be looking for someone to make an example of. The court had already asked us once before to take down an article published before the suppression order mentioning that there were two trials for Pell. We had refused, but clearly we were on the judge’s radar.
I told our editors I was willing to go to jail if they decided we wanted to test the suppression order, but in the end, after discussions that reached the highest levels of The Times, we ran a story in print only on Dec. 14.
It carried a “New York Times” byline under the headline: “Australia Cardinal Found Guilty of Abusing Boys in 1996.”
The story did not publish online. We also cut off access to our syndication partners in Australia to ensure that they did not publish what we wrote.
I initially felt conflicted about whether it was the right call. I’d seen how secrecy contributed to the problem of sexual abuse in the church in Massachusetts.
But ultimately (along with our editors) I concluded that abiding by the order was our best unfortunate option — for reasons both legal and ethical. The complainants involved in the second trial did not want their case jeopardized, and with most of our competitors abiding by the order, would it have been right, legally or morally, if The Times had played a role in that by disregarding an order meant to ensure a fair trial?
Damien and Livia:
What we didn’t know then was that the second trial was doomed to fail no matter what.
More than two months after Cardinal Pell’s conviction, an assessment of the evidence for a second trial, involving allegations against Cardinal Pell from the 1970s, began.
Prosecutors had hoped to show that his history of abuse proved that Cardinal Pell had a tendency toward molesting children. Under Australian law, a judge may admit such evidence only if its evidentiary value outweighs the risk of prejudice to the defendant.
The judge ruled that it did not.
That led the prosecution to drop the second trial, and the suppression order to be lifted. For the first time, reporters tweeted from the courtroom with news of the guilty verdict from December.
We (finally) published a full version online of our story about the verdict. What had been suppressed was suddenly widely known.
The following day, Cardinal Pell was taken into custody to await his sentencing.
His lawyers have said they plan to appeal, and several high profile politicians — including former Prime Minister John Howard — have questioned the verdict.
The Vatican has also signaled that it will wait for the appeals process to play out before making a final decision on Cardinal Pell’s fate within the church.
Perhaps that’s only fair, but would the public reaction have been different if the trial had been covered daily and extensively as it happened? To what extent does the enforced secrecy blunt the impact of a jury’s conclusion, and protect a guilty man’s image?
We may never know the answers to these questions. But the mix of secrecy and justice continues to play out.
Last month, the court refused to grant us access to the main complainant’s victim impact statement.
This week, Cardinal Pell was sentenced to six years in prison. And the court allowed the sentencing to be broadcast on live television.
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天空同步开奖结果查询【小】【丫】【头】【姓】【了】【白】，【明】【睿】【跟】【傅】【候】【提】【过】【一】【嘴】，【可】【是】【老】【太】【太】【却】【是】【刚】【知】【道】，【对】【于】【姓】【啥】，【傅】【候】【是】【没】【意】【见】【的】，【谁】【不】【知】【道】【南】【蜀】【大】【祭】【司】【啊】，【继】【承】【他】【的】【衣】【钵】，【孩】【子】【还】【能】【吃】【了】【亏】， “【姓】【白】【好】【啊】，【哼】，【跟】【谁】【姓】【也】【比】【姓】【明】【强】，”【老】【太】【太】【说】【了】【这】【一】【句】，【便】【不】【能】【再】【多】【说】【了】，【看】【着】【小】【玄】【孙】【那】【真】【是】【眉】【开】【眼】【笑】，【好】【像】【又】【看】【到】【了】【自】【己】【的】【闺】【女】， 【明】【睿】【也】【没】【料】【到】
【北】【鲜】【珺】【从】【茶】【楼】【离】【开】【后】，【宋】【洛】【来】【到】【隔】【壁】【的】【房】【间】【敲】【门】【而】【入】。 “【你】【都】【听】【见】【了】。”【宋】【洛】【自】【然】【的】【坐】【在】【一】【边】，【看】【着】【对】【面】【一】【直】【听】【他】【们】【讲】【话】【的】【人】。 【陆】【莞】【尔】【向】【楼】【下】【看】【去】，【正】【巧】【是】【北】【鲜】【珺】【离】【开】【的】【身】【影】。 【早】【在】【北】【鲜】【珺】【去】【往】【士】【王】【府】【的】【时】【候】，【宋】【洛】【便】【向】【平】【庚】【王】【府】【递】【了】【请】【帖】，【请】【陆】【莞】【尔】【到】【茶】【楼】【一】【见】，【让】【她】【听】【些】【有】【趣】【儿】【的】【事】。【现】【在】【陆】【莞】【尔】【将】【北】
【三】【日】【后】，【起】【义】【军】【中】【已】【安】【排】【好】【军】【力】，【只】【等】【入】【夜】【后】，【趁】【着】【夜】【色】【悄】【悄】【埋】【伏】，【便】【可】【布】【下】【天】【罗】【地】【网】。 【斥】【候】【军】【不】【断】【进】【进】【出】【出】，【汇】【报】【最】【新】【军】【情】。 【霍】【清】【然】【心】【中】【终】【是】【有】【些】【放】【不】【下】，【自】【己】【出】【了】【营】【地】【策】【马】【巡】【视】。 【营】【地】【外】【到】【处】【都】【是】【人】【迹】【罕】【至】【的】【荒】【山】【野】【岭】，【没】【有】【人】【能】【料】【到】【这】【里】【有】【一】【天】【会】【成】【为】【两】【军】【交】【战】【之】【处】，【无】【数】【年】【轻】【的】【将】【士】【流】【尽】【鲜】【血】，【埋】天空同步开奖结果查询【这】【些】【将】【军】【们】【实】【力】【都】【颇】【为】【不】【俗】，【但】【也】【从】【未】【见】【识】【过】【这】【种】【无】【形】【且】【还】【能】【温】【和】【地】【将】【人】【扶】【起】【的】【力】【量】，【都】【有】【些】【惊】【住】【了】。 【而】【杨】【天】【则】【是】【微】【笑】【着】【开】【口】【道】：“【各】【位】【将】【军】【为】【了】【保】【家】【卫】【国】，【也】【是】【贡】【献】【了】【无】【数】【心】【血】，【我】【只】【是】【力】【量】【稍】【微】【强】【大】【一】【点】，【帮】【助】【你】【们】，【一】【起】【保】【住】【了】【怀】【南】【国】【而】【已】。【功】【劳】【应】【该】【是】【同】【等】【的】，【你】【们】【也】【不】【必】【对】【我】【过】【于】【推】【崇】。” 【将】【军】【们】【听】
“【怎】【么】，【就】【这】【点】【小】【事】【你】【们】【都】【办】【不】【好】【吗】？” “【主】【人】【息】【怒】，【想】【必】【你】【要】【找】【的】【那】【个】【人】【还】【未】【曾】【出】【世】。” “【小】【狸】，【你】【跟】【了】【我】【多】【少】【年】【了】？【你】【不】【会】【不】【知】【道】【我】【的】【性】【子】【吧】？” “【主】【人】，【一】【百】【年】【了】。【小】【狸】【一】【直】【都】【记】【得】，【不】【敢】【忘】【记】。” 【月】【娜】【看】【了】【她】【一】【眼】，【正】【声】【道】：“【不】【敢】【忘】【记】【就】【好】，【我】【希】【望】【以】【后】【的】【你】，【也】【永】【远】【都】【把】【这】【一】【切】【记】【在】【心】【中】
“【追】！”【白】【逸】【冷】【静】【地】【下】【令】。 【随】【着】【声】【音】【的】【落】【下】，【路】【边】【的】【树】【丛】【中】【闪】【过】【几】【道】【黑】【影】，【风】【一】【般】【地】【在】【林】【间】【掠】【过】，【朝】【着】【方】【才】【季】【修】【宴】【消】【失】【的】【方】【向】【去】【了】。 【季】【淮】【安】【看】【着】【这】【一】【幕】【也】【心】【感】【惊】【恐】，【他】【知】【道】【如】【今】【的】【执】【天】【教】【的】【确】【是】【不】【好】【招】【惹】【的】【势】【力】，【武】【林】【盟】【与】【之】【纠】【缠】【多】【年】【都】【未】【能】【彻】【底】【将】【其】【赶】【出】【中】【原】，【简】【直】【就】【如】【同】【跗】【骨】【之】【蛆】，【现】【在】【两】【边】【对】【上】，【一】【个】【早】
“【真】【是】【一】【群】【自】【以】【为】【了】【不】【起】【的】【人】【啊】！”【看】【到】【路】【善】【等】【人】【之】【后】，【大】【部】【分】【人】【都】【退】【却】【了】，【但】【是】【仍】【然】【有】【头】【铁】【的】【人】【不】【以】【为】【然】，【当】【然】，【他】【们】【这】【些】【人】【也】【不】【是】【好】【惹】，【其】【中】【的】【一】【个】【人】【忍】【不】【住】【开】【口】【说】【道】，【相】【当】【的】【生】【气】，【因】【为】【路】【善】【等】【人】【竟】【然】【看】【起】【来】【比】【自】【己】【这】【些】【人】【还】【要】【了】【不】【起】！ 【这】【些】【人】【绝】【对】【不】【能】【原】【谅】【啊】！ 【必】【须】【要】【好】【好】【的】【教】【训】【这】【些】【人】，【这】【个】【人】【随】【口】