Vatican is to investigate Cardinal George Pell over sex abuse conviction

The case of jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell is to be investigated by the Vatican, a spokesman said yesterday.

Pell was jailed yesterday following the announcement of a verdict in his trial for sexually abusing children. He is due to be sentenced on March 13 on five charges relating to offences against two 13-year-old boys in the 1990s when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

Cardinal George Pell was found guilty of child sexual abuse.Reuters

Pell has continued to maintain his innocence and plans to appeal against the verdict.

He is a former head of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, though his term ended on February 24.

The interim director of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotti, said: 'After the guilty verdict in the first instance concerning Cardinal Pell, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm.'

While a final verdict in Pell's case will not be given until the result of his appeal is known, possible penalties include dismissal from the clerical state and a life of prayer and penance.

Pell's conviction is the latest in a string of abuse scandals to hit the Church, coming closely after the dismissal of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.