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Melbourne Cathedral vandalised after Cardinal Pell acquittal

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne was vandalised overnight Wednesday, hours after Cardinal George Pell was acquitted by Australia's High Court of a sexual abuse conviction and released from prison. The door to the cathedral was spray-painted with a cartoon image of a devil, along with the message “Rot in Hell, Pell!"


Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne told Australian media that while he was upset about the vandalism, he was “not entirely surprised.” 

“There remains such strong emotions around all of these matters,” Comensoli told Australian news network 3AW. 

The director of the office of the Archbishop of Melbourne told Australian media that security around the cathedral would be increased in the following days to prevent further acts of vandalism. 

Pell was convicted in December 2018 of sexually assaulting two choirboys at the Melbourne Cathedral in 1996. On April 7, the Australian High Court unanimously ruled that the evidence presented during the trial would not have allowed the jury to avoid reasonable doubt and ordered Pell’s acquittal and release after more than 400 days in prison. 

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