A jury in Melbourne has found Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic and the Vatican’s economy minister, guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in 1996.
The 77-year-old was also found guilty of indecently assaulting one of the teens a month later. One of the victims, now 34, testified in court. The other died in 2014 of a heroin overdose. The jury reached its decision on Dec. 11, but the court ordered the verdict stay under wraps until now. He faces up to 50 years in prison, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Pell is the Catholic Church’s most senior official to be convicted of sexual abuse. In December, the Vatican announced Pell had been removed from Pope Francis’ council of advisers.