Cardinal George Pell: The ice cream rapist

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence tries to find reasons behind Robert Richter's trivialisation of George Pell's offences.


“... no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case.”

Really? What, no head job banana flavour? No oral sex head-slamming pawpaw flavour? No masturbation flavoured pistachio? No sexual penetration raspberry flavour? No oral rape bubblegum flavour? Waffle cone or cup?

We’re talking Jesus here, for Christ’s sake. Yes. We. Vatican. This is sexual assault lite, surely. It’s not the bloody Last Supper. So don’t get your scapular in a knot.

It wasn’t as if the kid was raped with a crucifix, like some others. Just an ordinary old penis was used. Same old, same old.

Nah, this was your plain old ordinary pedestrian paedophilic sexual penetration.

Cardinal George Pell, as Robert Richter QC explained, is the “ice cream” rapist. It’s a natural follow-on. We have “Mr Stinky” and we have “Mr Baldy”.

Plain vanilla implies ordinariness — in Pell’s case, religious royalty. But even if the penis was attached to a cardinal, in the long run, it’s just a penis like any other bloke’s penis. Right? Shoving it into a kid’s mouth is just plain vanilla oral rape stuff.

“... no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not volunteering or actively participating.”

Thus, ill-spake Robert Richter, whose sleazy, repugnant, snide words, instead of insinuating leniency, actually did the opposite — condemning to ignominy his autocratic client and Prince of the Catholic Church, who now joins the burgeoning ranks of thousands of his brethren as a plain vanilla rapist and convicted paedophile, the once untouchable and infallible unto himself, Cardinal George Pell.

The utterance of these dangerous words has forever soiled Richter’s own formidable reputation and well-earned legacy as the menacing first among equals in the panthea of Australia’s foremost barristers.


Richter’s words ricocheted around the world, along with Pell’s conviction, underscoring the arrogance for which the Catholic Church is infamous.

Desperate to redeem some legal traction, given he’d failed to secure Pell’s acquittal on five charges of sexual assault, Richter resorted to legal trash talk that was unworthy of his oratorical skills, debating talent and intellect.

It was unworthy of the Court and the law itself, certainly unworthy of victims of rape and sexual assault, and a further assault on Pell’s surviving victim, who was one of the two 13-year-old choirboys that Pell confronted in the sacristy of St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. The other victim died in 2014 from a heroin overdose.


It was a cheap shot and dirty play that backfired. It also named and shamed the Catholic Church in Australia and exposed it for the thuggish, venal and heartless organisation it has been groomed to become — especially under the authorship of Pell, his coterie, supporters, subservients and his elite cheer squad. That includes former prime ministers, an ambassador, the rich, socialites, “the Establishment” and suchlike — and those who suppose that respect is commandeered rather than earned.


Who says you can’t make a silk's purse out of a sow’s ear? Richter has done just that.

Pell, who has always professed his innocence of these charges and other allegations, is appealing against his conviction.

The next day, a penitent and chastened Richter apologised for his words.

At the beginning of the legal process, we were assured that Pell would not be treated any differently to we of the great unanointed; we who have not had our feet washed by the Son of God or dried by the tresses of his BFF, the 13th Apostle, Mary Magdalene.

But Pell was treated quite differently.

Consider the preposterously insulting suppression order and the inane, embarrassing conditions placed on reportage of the Pell case in Australia, treating the jury, media and Australians as if we were all unthinking bigots and didn’t know the difference between fake, fake news and real, fake news.


This was a legal tactic designed to till fertile ground for a possible retrial – or aborted trial, contempt of court – and to exploit any number of opportunities to portray Pell as a man who could not get a fair trial in his own country.

But the Order backfired. It was doomed from the first. Ironically, the biggest gaffe occurred when the Order was lifted — the own-goal by Pell’s own lawyer, Robert Richter.

The platoon of police, security personnel, lawyers, advisers and Pell groupies that invariably flank Pell’s court and other public appearances are orchestrated to portray him as a man under siege from a violent, avenging mob of child sex abuse victims and supporters.

Even Nicola Gobbo, who has just been outed in Victoria as long-standing police informant “Lawyer X” or “Informer 3838” – said to be her bust and bottom measurements – doesn’t have the level of security enjoyed by Pell.

Now that the suppression order on identifying her by name has been lifted, Gobbo is arguably under greater threat of payback injury and/or murder.

Yet, even the theatrical and overblown security, more suited to Mexican drug lord El Chapo, has also backfired on the Cardinal. It’s all wearing a bit thin and shabby these days.

For decades, those of us au fait with the subversive underbelly of the corrupt and corrupting components of the Catholic Church in Australia, have been aware of the comprehensive devious strategies and military-like manoeuvres deployed by the Church and its emissaries.


It is mafia-like in every regard and, as we know from even before the Royal Commission, it abides by the Code of Omerta.

The army of inner sanctum civilians are mostly white males who work for the Church in terms of damage control – for coinage and/or the promise of eternal life or fine dinners and fine wines and spirits of the liquid rather than the supernatural kind – benefactors and beneficiaries alike include high profile journalists, lawyers and politicians.

It is unquestionably a religious Brotherhood whose executives enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle far removed from the hypocritical frugal beatitudes they bestow upon the poor and homeless; losers both. Blessed are the rich, for they have disinherited the Earth.

But most of all, on this day, blessed are the plain vanilla people and may justice, not revenge, be their earthly reward.

DISCLOSURE: Lawrence worked for the Christian Brothers and acknowledges there are many good and wonderful people in the Catholic Church and is lucky to know some of them. And yes, she is a prolapsed Catholic.

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