The “Plain Vanilla” Rape Defense: Counsel For Former Vatican Treasurer Shocks Court With Claim For Lower Sentence

Occasionally we discuss great and not-so-great defenses in litigation. This would fall under the latter. Robert Richter, the attorney for Cardinal George Pell in his sentencing hearing for sexual assault, shocked many with his assurance to the court that one of the incidents was a “plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating.” It is a a statement that seems tailored to destroy any chance of leniency for your client. On the legal Richter scale, that would be a 9 or more level argument with total destruction.

Richter made the claim in an effort to secure a lower sentence in a Melbourne court for the 77-year-old former Vatican treasurer. His is the highest ranked Vatican official convicted of such crimes, which included five charges of indecent acts and sexual penetration of a child for sexually assaulting two choirboys at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the late 1990s.

Richter argued that there was “no aggravating circumstances” in his rape of two 13-year-old boy. He also argued that the crimes were the result of his being “seized by some irresistible impulse.”

If so, he is not the only one with an impulse problem.

22 thoughts on “The “Plain Vanilla” Rape Defense: Counsel For Former Vatican Treasurer Shocks Court With Claim For Lower Sentence”

  1. You’d think rape of children would be an aggravating circumstance by itself, and there are places where it is. Louisiana, for example, finds that victims over 65 years of age or under 13 are not capable of resisting a rape, even when none of seven conditions, only one of which must be met for a rape to be considered to be “aggravated” in those younger than 65 or 13 or older, is present (force or the threat of force are two of them. I’ll spare readers the whole depressing list).

    Trahison des clercs is an archaic term for “a betrayal of intellectual, artistic, or moral standards by writers, academics, or artists”. In this case, I’d stretch the definition to include Cardinal George Pell, his attorney Robert Richter, and any court which found His Eminence not deserving of the maximum sentence afforded by Australian law for the rape of those two children.

  2. Multiple rapes of children were “plain vanilla”, eh? He was seized by the same “irresistible impulse” as any other pedophile. Such “irresistible impulses” is why they should be locked up, forever, on some island surrounded by great white sharks, periodically chummed.

    Recidivism means the rape of a child.

    I was raised Catholic, but the ongoing pedophile catastrophe is one of the reasons why I left and now attend another Christian church. Priests known to be pedophiles were shifted around from parish to parish, nationally, internationally. The scandal goes back for decades. There has also been scandal after scandal of priests abusing nuns. The only logical explanation is that pedophiles have infested the Administration, all the way to the Holy See. In addition, while taking the position that homosexuality is a sin, there is sure a lot of homosexuality among priests, including gay orgies. Entire seminaries had to be dissolved because they were the equivalent of a bath house.

    You cannot expect such an organization to police itself.

    To add insult to injury, Cardinal Mahoney refused to provide personnel records to police investigating the rape of children because he said he didn’t want to be sued for breaching employee privacy. Now, these are the same guys who taught us about martyrs willing to die for the faith, but they seem utterly at a loss as to what to do when a priest rapes children. Socialist Pope Frances stopped US Bishops from voting on a code of conduct and lay person oversight regarding the pedophile crisis. Children are at stake and he was afraid he’d be sued? He should have been willing to die for them. These are the people teaching us morality?

    I do not blame the Church for ever having a pedophile among its clergy. They are attracted to jobs that give them access, authority, and trust over children. But I do indeed blame them all the way to hell for how they handled it. The people making decisions on the matter are, I suspect, abusers themselves. How else to explain it?

    Since the clergy has absolutely no idea what to do when a grown man rapes a child, let me explain it to them. Call the police. Make a report. Then put the priest on suspension, with no contact with children, until the investigation concludes. Should he be found guilty, defrock him.

    Any questions? Because this line of reasoning seems impossible for them to grasp.

    Parents cannot assume their children would tell them if a trusted adult was sexually assaulting them. It is not a fair fight between an adult and child. Pedophiles know how to invest time and effort grooming their victims. The victims usually don’t speak up, sometimes for years. But the Church knew. Accusations pile up, but those priests just got shifted around, given new sacrificial lambs.

    I am so disgusted with how the Church has let the most innocent lambs in the congregation down, for decades, I’m beside myself.

    The problem is that their job requirements don’t give them the best pool of applicants. Most healthy males are not attracted to a lifetime of celibacy. Usually, guys don’t want to live the rest of their lives living with other guys, never getting married, never owning anything, often living a communal lifestyle. Before homosexuality was accepted, there must have been quite a comfort in a gay man discovering a life that would allow him to never marry, only have male company, without pressure from society. Being openly gay no longer means being ostracized by society. In fact, coming out of the closet can save the girls you try to pass yourself off as straight a lot of time and tears. Nowadays, what kind of person finds this life attractive?

    There are many men who feel called to serve God, but live celibate forever? Never a family or love of their own?

    The Church should allow priests to get married if they wish. Give them a housing allowance like the Protestant faiths. Imams and rabbis have beta tested this method quite thoroughly by now. You can still serve God if you want to get married. Let women become priests, or give nuns equal status. It’s absurd to base the male requirement that the Apostles were all male. If Jesus only wanted women to become priests, he would have said so, instead of expecting us to guess what he wanted based on his initial staffing choices. After all, women 2,000 years ago would not have the same access to followers to the same degree as a man. Since He apparently wanted to get the Word out more than He wanted to be a SJW, he chose the gender that had more access. While we’re at it, allow birth control. It is hostile to women to forbid them birth control, as a married woman would keep having children until her body gave out. Most Catholics just ignore the rule. I understand the Church’s stand on abortion, but not birth control. (Cue Monty Python’s Every Sperm Is Sacred)

  3. Too bad Chopper Reid is dead and gone, he could have had the honors of shivving this chomo once he’s locked up. but, they will have in protection for the duration, i am sure.

  4. Rather than make this creep an even higher official, the Argentine should have condemned him to death for crimes against children, exercised his absolute authority as sovereign of the Vatican state inside its walls, and had a Swiss guard run him through, and mount his skull on a pike on the Vatican wall as an example for all further loathsome chomos to see.

    THAT would have made Pope Francis a saint. But, he is certainly not one.

  5. Is it too much for the Professor to acknowledge serious doubts about the defendant’s guilt?

    1. Actually, no adult male should be alone with a child, unless, for example, the door to a classroom is open. Anytime an adult male shows an unusual interest in children, inviting them along for individual trips, overnights, no parents invited, it is a red flag. It’s in the playbook.

      It is my understanding that if a child stays behind in a classroom with a male teacher, for instance for tutoring, the door has to remain open. The possibility for both abuse, and false accusations, is why male OB/GYNs are required to have a nurse in the room during an exam. They can talk with a female patient alone, but when it’s time for the pelvic exam, a nurse enters the room.

      Programs like Big Brother, the Boy Scouts, and schools also have to be careful, as pedophiles are attracted to jobs or volunteer opportunities that give them access and authority over children.

  6. I wish that this man gets raped in the rear for being a queer and losses his balls behind the walls. The death penalty was the proper sentence. The Cat O Lic church needs to be abandoned by its members. Drop the faith. It is all in vain and dumb as Jane. If you belong to that mob then you will get sent to Hell when you have your hearing at the Holy Gates. H E L L spells Helll and off you go.

    1. I wonder if you feel the same way about women teachers that have sex with under age students? You don’t have to go to a Catholic church or donate money to them, but I have to pay school taxes to the public school monopoly that support child rape. I guess all teachers are going to hell.

      1. Pedophile teachers get to retain their pension. This is one of the reasons why I support a 401K over the unsustainable pension program. In a 401K, the employee usually contributes some of their own money, and employer contributions vest. It’s an earn as you go scenario, and the money is always under their own name.

        In addition, it takes years in court and hundreds of thousands of dollars to fire a teacher. Most of the times the news discusses an abusing teacher getting “fired” they really mean he was allowed to retire with full benefits. It just takes too much money away from schools to try to fire a teacher with the Union behind them. They even Rubber Room teachers with accusations against them. The send them to offices, without access to students, where they just hang out or read books all day. Cheaper than investigating or firing them.

        Female teachers who have sex with underage teenage students, who are not children, are guilty of statutory rape rather than pedophilia. They get sentenced to prison if they are under the age of consent. It should also be a fireable offense. Although it is usually applauded for the boy, it can have devastating consequences. When I was in high school, a teenager I knew had an affair with his friend’s mother. Broke up their marriage. A couple of years later, after he’d turned 18, I remember seeing him in a grocery store, still with her. She was at least 25 years older than him and had not taken care of herself. It definitely seemed like a groomed relationship. It did not seem to be a health, positive experience for him or his socialization with his peers.

    2. Why would any Catholic parishioner want to contribute money to pay for the settlement of someone else’s crimes?

      1. Why would any taxpayer want to contribute to a school system that breeds sex offenders?

  7. “If so, he is not the only one with an impulse problem.”


    Trump has made plain with his impuslvie tweets what the liberal news media made excuses for the Left these past 50 years. Abortion is in large part an impulsvie decision with no regard for the bigger picture. The poliical machinery of the Democrats all knee jerk impulsive for decades.

    Many of the cultural problems we see in our nation today stem from a mindset articulated by the rock group “I Want It All” and many Hollywood celebrities, Democrats and SJW.

    Pride, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Greed, Envy, Lust….all rooted in appetites and exibited as impulsive behaviors. Dr Karl Menninger’s 1970s classic “Whatever Became of Sin?” comes to mind

    Defrock George Pell just like Theodore McCarrick.
    Shame them to hell

    1. Estovir, this is a good example of how your comments are dumbing-down this blog in the most undesirable way.

      The subject is a fallen Catholic Cardinal convicted of pedophilia. Yet by your third sentence you attempt to make this about the ‘liberal news media’ while portraying Trump as heroic for fighting back at them. Then, without even following through on that thought, you go on to blame the ‘political machinery of Democrats’. Like somehow ‘they’ are responsible for an abusive priest in Australia!

      But you get even ‘more’ general yet by citing today’s ‘cultural problems’ as evidence of a mindset promoted by rockers, Hollywood celebrities and Democrats; as though they’re all part of a vast conspiracy. Then you turn biblical while recommending a book that presumably addresses this vague, potpourri of issues.

      In short, Estovir, you are completely incapable, or unwilling, to follow through on any stated premise. All we see instead are broad links that become increasingly generalized to the point of incomprehensible. And I think that reflects the influence of right-wing media. 25 years of right-wing media conditions people to think in such broad terms they can’t possibly get specific.

      1. Better than attacking another person’s comments is just to offer great insight or ideas that stand on their own without attacks on others.

  8. Hard to believe any lawyer makes that argument unless he wants to tank his client’s case. But foolishness is the best explanation. So long to Cardinal Pederast and his lawyer for a long time.

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