By Bill Chappell
Australian news outlets are grappling with how to handle one of the country’s biggest news stories of the year — even though a judge has barred them from reporting the details. The story revolves around Cardinal George Pell, a Vatican insider who was reportedly convicted of sexually abusing minors this week, and public interest in the case has been intense.
A jury in the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne where Pell, 77, was once archbishop, is said to have found the cardinal guilty of “five charges of ‘historical child sexual offenses’ that go back decades,” according to the Jesuit magazine America. Both that outlet and the Catholic News Agency say they have confirmed the initial report of Pell’s conviction that was published by the Daily Beast. All of the outlets are citing sources who either have knowledge of the case or are “close to the cardinal.”
Australian journalists have been forced to either ignore reports of a verdict or refer to it in only the broadest terms. News Corp Australia, which owns a number of print and online outlets in the country, has said it will challenge the court’s suppression order.
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