I'm Melissa Davey, one of a handful of journalists who sat through the entire mistrial and trial of the most powerful Catholic ever to be convicted of child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell. AMA!
I am Melissa Davey, Melbourne Bureau Chief of Guardian Australia and one of a few journalists worldwide who sat through the entirety of the trial of Cardinal George Pell, including the committal hearing, mistrial and retrial. I also covered his evidence before Australia's child sexual abuse royal commission in 2016 live for four days straight. I have been covering issues like child sexual abuse, family violence and royal commissions for several years now, and the podcast I made on the child abuse royal commission with my colleagues Miles Martignoni and David Marr, 'The Reckoning', won two New York Festival awards. We've have now made 'The Reckoning Part 2' about the Pell case. We'll make the final episode after the appeal.
Since the suppression order lifted on the Pell trials and my stories were published, I have been overwhelmed by the level of interest in the case, especially questions around the court process and the facts. I think it's important for journalists to make this court process as transparent and comprehensible as possible, so here I am to answer any of your questions. There is a huge appetite for dispassionate, clear reporting on this somewhat complicated story, and I've found the engagement from readers so interesting. As many of you will be aware there has been a significant backlash to the conviction led by Catholic news websites worldwide and some of the conservative press here in Australia. Let's talk about that too.
Yesterday, he was sentenced to 6 years prison with a non-parole period of 3 years 8 months.
Remember, this is a traumatic topic for many. Let's keep it kind, and while support services differ by country, here is a good place to start: https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/contact
I'll be answering your questions for an hour or two from 7am Thursday 14 March AEDT, which is 4pm Wednesday 13 March EDT. I'm in an airport with dodgy wifi so let's see how this goes. AMA and thanks so much in advance for your interest!
UPDATE: I'm about to be called over the airport intercom for being late for my flight so will be wrapping up shortly. Please ask any questions i didn't get to over at my Twitter account. I'll do my best.
In the meantime, if you like the work we do at Guardian Australia you might consider supporting us, either with membership or a one-off donation of an amount of your choice https://membership.theguardian.com/au/supporter . But thank you so much for all the questions, it's been great.
Please also see this Q&A I wrote: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/02/cardinal-george-pells-conviction-the-questions-that-remain
UPDATE 2: That's it from me, thanks again. Hope to see you over at Twitter for any questions that remain. Please take care of yourself if this AMA has been distressing. There are support services out there.