Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of multiple historical child sexual offences, Australian media reported Tuesday, making the former Vatican treasurer the most senior Catholic figure to be convicted of such offences.

In December, a jury unanimously found Pell, 77, guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys in the mid-1990s. However, the conviction was only made public Tuesday when the chief judge of the County Court of Victoria lifted a suppression order.

The court order was lifted after a second trial into further child sex allegations against Pell was abandoned.


Pell, who lost his role as the Vatican's chief financial adviser, is found to have assaulted one 13-year-old boy and molested another shortly after celebrating Mass in Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

In a separate incident in 1997, Pell pushed one of the boys against a wall and sexually assaulted him. Pell had pleaded not guilty during the trial, which began in November.

Local media reported that Pell will be remanded in custody after a pre-sentence hearing on Wednesday, where his lawyers say they will appeal the conviction. It is expected Pell will be sentenced in the weeks following Wednesday's pre-sentence hearing.

According to the Associated Press, Pell faces a maximum 50-year prison term.

Pell's case has sent shockwaves through the Catholic church, already hit by a series of sexual abuse scandals in recent years.

Pope Francis quietly removed Pell from his inner sanctum of advisers, the so-called Group of Nine, or C9, in December.