‘SLEEPLESS NIGHT’

Lawyer Sorry for Saying Cardinal Pell’s Child Abuse Was ‘Vanilla Sex’

A leading Australian lawyer has apologized for a “terrible choice of phrase” after he described the Cardinal Pell’s abuse as “vanilla sex.” George Pell is in prison awaiting sentence for orally raping and molesting a 13-year-old choirboy, and molesting another 13-year-old. Robert Richter’s remark, which came during a plea hearing for the cleric, was said as he was trying to point out there were no aggravating features to the crimes. He said: “This is no more than a plain-vanilla sexual penetration case where a child is not volunteering or actively participating.” However, he’s now issued an apology after a “sleepless night reflecting,” The Guardian reports. “In seeking to mitigate sentence, I used a wholly inappropriate phrase for which I apologize profusely to all who interpreted it in a way it was never intended: It was in no way meant to belittle or minimize the suffering and hurt of victims of sex abuse, and in retrospect I can see why it caused great offense to many,” he said. “I hope my apology is accepted as sincerely as it is meant and I will never repeat such carelessness in my choice of words which might offend.”