By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

Australia’s Cardinal Pell has been sentenced to six years for child sex abuse, but the evidence against Pell is far from convincing. Something needs to be done.

The Innocence Project is a program that has exonerated over 300 people wrongly convicted of serious crimes since 1992. Is it time to set up an “Innocence Project” for Catholic priests wrongly convicted of abuse?

Let’s be clear, it is horrific that clergy have abused children and young seminarians. The crime is even worse when the offender is – or was – part of the Church’s hierarchy. It’s long past time for the Catholic Church to purge these vile sex offenders from the ranks of the clergy, and for civil authorizes to bring them to justice.

And yet the understandable desire to console abuse victims – coupled with general anti-Catholicism, which appears to have been a factor in Cardinal Pell’s case – risks convicting innocent men of guilt by association simply because they wear a clerical collar.

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