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The British Parliament Voted Resoundingly To Reject The Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit Deal A Second Time; U.S. Has Decided Not To Ground The Fleet Of Boeing 737 MAX 8; Cardinal George Pell Faces Sentencing For Child Sex Abuse. Aired: 6-7p ET

Aired March 12, 2019 - 18:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

RICHARD QUEST, ANCHOR, CNN: Hello and warm welcome. I'm Richard Quest coming to you from London. Breaking News, let's begin here in the United

Kingdom. There is a state of political uncertainty bordering on chaos as the United Kingdom now moves absolutely towards unchartered territory.


JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF COMMONS: The 'ayes' to the right, 242; the 'no's' to the left, 391. So the 'no's' have it, the 'no's have it.


QUEST: Hours ago, the British Parliament voted resoundingly to reject the Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, it's the second time they have

done this. Now, after nearly losing her voice, the Prime Minister addressed lawmakers shortly after the vote.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight. I

continue to believe that by far, the best outcome is the United Kingdom leave the European Union in an orderly fashion with a deal and that the

deal we have negotiated is the best and, indeed, the only deal available.


QUEST: After the Prime Minister's defeat, the European Council President Donald Tusk told CNN a no-deal Brexit is now more likely, it's an opinion

option that lawmakers will vote on, on Wednesday. They're going to vote on whether or not to take no deal off the table. If they decide against

crashing out of the Union, there will be a vote on Thursday. Now, that vote on Thursday will be whether to request an extension of the so-called

Article 50 deadline.

Remember, just over two weeks from now, that's when the U.K. is supposed to leave the E.U. If, as you can see on this, there's a vote not to extend

the deadline, well, we're probably back to a no-deal Brexit. It's unclear what happens.

Joining me now to talk about this, Nina dos Santos is at Downing Street, Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels for the European perspective. I am going to

start this time with you, Nina, how much trouble is Theresa May in?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, to give you an indication, she didn't leave for that vote via the front door. She took the back door from

Downing Street to exit the building earlier today and then she -- there was no triumphant return either. She decided to enter again via the back door

and conspicuously, the only senior Cabinet member that we saw return from that vote through the front door in Downing Street is Phillip Hammond who

is preparing his mini budget for the year, the spring statement soon.

So he's got his work cut out to try and deflect from Brexit and try and offer some kind of reassurances to the business community, so he was the

only real visible figure entering and exiting Downing Street throughout this momentously important and fraught day.

One that has seen the Prime Minister spectacularly defeated on essentially the same plans for a second time, and so now the question becomes where do

we go from here?

As you pointed out, Richard, we have got these two crucial votes. First on the no-deal Brexit tomorrow and then on delay later on. And in the

meantime, what we have seen is a group of U.K. lawmakers that include senior figures within the European Research Group, that key core

Eurosceptic part of the Prime Minister's Conservative Party saying that they would like to put on the table this option of potentially having a

managed no-deal Brexit. So a delay until May 22nd and then leaving without a deal, but just a no-deal scenario that mitigates the temporary

uncertainty over the next couple of months.

Now, why is May 22nd crucial? Well, it is because, if the U.K. does decide to give the government this week the go ahead to ask for a delay, the E.U.

has its own Parliamentary elections that is set to take place after May 22 right at the end of that month in spring.

So this would give the U.K. and the E.U. an option according to these people who would like to see a no-deal scenario, although a managed no-deal

on the table, this would give both sides an opportunity to get on with something other than Brexit.

But of course, economists say that the consequences of a no-deal could be very, very serious indeed, Richard.

QUEST: All right, Nina, thank you. Stay with me. I want do go to Erin McLaughlin in Brussels.


QUEST: Erin, I am hearing rumor or discussion point that the E.U.'s price for granting an extension would be for a year providing the U.K. held

another referendum or a general election.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I can tell, Richard, that that is just a rumor at this point because I was talking to senior E.U.

officials as well as other E.U. officials earlier in the day and the fact of the matter is the topic of a potential extension has not been discussed

at the level of the E.U. 27 leaders.

There is no substantial discussion that's taken place on that topic although E.U. leaders are beginning to consider the question, the

possibility, that Parliament later this week could vote for extending that Brexit deadline. Mark Rutte took to Twitter himself, addressing that

saying that any extension request would need to be quote, "Credible and convincing." There needs to be a justification in his view for this


So if that is, in fact, what Parliament decides to do later in the week, they are going to need to give the E.U. some sort of direction. That being

said, the sense I am getting from others that I have been talking to, other diplomats, that they want to avoid the chaos of a no-deal Brexit, so

regardless of the justification to the time limit requested, they are going to want to grant that extension to the United Kingdom

In the meantime, we have been hearing from reaction across the European Union. We made a small list of countries who have reacted so far. The

Dutch, The Spanish, the Austrians, the Germans, Finnish, the French, they have all reacted essentially saying the same thing, that they regret the

fact the that this vote did not go through, that this deal on the table did not make it past Westminster, but any sort of solution needs to be found

within the United Kingdom, Richard?

QUEST: Erin, don't go too far away. I want to go to Northern Ireland where our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is in Londonderry, known

as also Derry, very close to the Irish border. We need to understand now what happens from -- the DUP refuse to support the Prime Minister, but they

are going to have to come to a point when they are recognizing that there is a no-deal Brexit issue tomorrow. There is a question of an extension on

Thursday, Nic Robertson?

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Yes, what they're saying, what the DUP are saying is that they think that no deal needs to be

kept on the table because they believe that Theresa May should be negotiating in a tough way with the European Union, they believe that the

backstop agreement actually breaks the terms of the peace agreement here from 20 years ago, so they have a very, very, very hardline position. And

of course, because if you will the majority Catholic party here, Sinn Fein those MPs don't take up the seats in Parliament, they don't vote and their

voices aren't heard and there's a real sense for many people in Northern Ireland, 80% of Derry for example, voted to remain part of the European

Union and they really feel they're not represented, they are not really being heard by Theresa May and their aspirations are being drown out by the


So you have a very, very divisive situation that is sort of dragging up the old divide, but I think very crucially tomorrow, Theresa May said she is

going to publish the sort of no-deal Brexit plans for Northern Ireland. What will they look like? Will it be mean some of the kind of border post?

And this, of course is another very contentious issue here, so I mean, I think this is to what to watch for tomorrow, but absolutely expect the

Democratic Unionist Party support Theresa May, probably a slender majority, for sure they are saying they're going to vote in favor of a no-deal


QUEST: Nic, you obviously have looked at the Northern Irish issues extremely closely. What is the long-term solution, to the plan, not relate

it goods, the tariff free and electronics and technology has been looking there, but to stop European or E.U. citizens coming in to Southern Ireland,

merely crossing the border and then just nipping into the United Kingdom illegally, I'll grant you but how are they going to stop that in the


ROBERTSON: Well, I think a lot of people are waiting to hear an answer on that one because there hasn't been one so far. People have talked about

this sort of Customs Union and Britain needing to maintain the -- you know, the same regulations and keeping step between European Union, Ireland, in

effect here and Northern Ireland and separately in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of Britain, of course that won't pass, that's an old

DUP issue with the backstop.


ROBERTSON: Burt you raise a very, very valid question. That's all talk about the Customs Union and tariffs. But what about the single market?

Theresa May is taking Britain out of the single market as part of her Brexit plan, so what would happen then? The single market as we know is

free transfer of goods, services, money and people. So people, yes. Technically somebody could land on a ferry from France in Dublin, walk,

drive, hitchhike, take a bus or a train up to Belfast without crossing a border or having any physical check at all.

So aspirationally, maybe somewhere in the future you can have a technological wizardry that doesn't exist right now that will allow trucks

to pass over the border and then tariffs to be properly accounted for, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera but for people, no apparent solution on the

table other than at the border controls coming in to Ireland, would you be asking somebody, and telling them, "Oh, you can't go across this invisible

line of a border to Northern Ireland." So unclear.

QUEST: And perhaps thankfully a problem that doesn't rear its ugly head for a year or two. Nic, thank you in Northern Ireland. The Scottish First

Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reacted to the vote with some harsh words. She said the Prime Minister and her Tory government should in her words

hanging their heads in shame following the defeat.

Nicola Sturgeon said, "Tonight's outcome was entirely predictable and if they had been prepared to listen at any stage and engage constructively

instead of simply pandering to Brexit extremists, they could have avoided it." If that wasn't enough, she went on, "Scotland's needs and voice have

been ignored by the U.K. government throughout the Brexit process. The case for Scotland becoming an independent government has never been


Carole Walker is back with me. That's not going happen any time soon?

CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the prospect of another Scottish referendum is probably the last thing that people want just at the moment.

I think given the huge political uncertainty that we face now, I mean, Richard, when you talk to different ministers, MPs, everyone has a

different scenario about what is going to happen next.

QUEST: I was just talking to Sir Peter Westmacott, former British Ambassador in Washington and in France. He said, look, the real issue here

is, how did she manage to not know what the Attorney General was going to say? I mean, whether he said it or not, but how come she didn't know this?

WALKER: Look, Theresa May has suffered a whole -- inflicted a whole series of mistakes throughout this entire negotiating process. I mean, many

people feel that it was a mistake for her in the first place to agree to hand over the 39 billion before she knew what she was going to get in

return, to agree to the two-stage process where she is expecting MPs to agree to a withdrawal agreement before any clear vision of the future

trading relationship was established.

I could go on. I think many people also feel that the root of all of this, the difficulty is she's never set out her vision of a post-Brexit Britain.

This is the Prime Minister who didn't want to leave.

WALKER: Well, hold on now -- Lancaster House speech, close and ultra special or whatever -- super special relationship. She's made numerous

speeches but you don't think that's set out the vision?

WALKER: She didn't set out the vision or the arrangements or the pathway for getting there. She didn't come up with an agreement. She was

outmaneuvered by the European Union when it came to actually pinning down this throughout the negotiating process and she went as a last-ditch bid to

try and get what she possibly could out of the European Union last night and she simply had to come back with what Jean-Claude Juncker had offered

her. Geoffrey Cox then couldn't sign up to it and give her the cover that she needed to get it through this place.

QUEST: Maybe I'm a little more empathetic to the Prime Minister only in the sense that I question could anybody have done it differently? Because

there's so many disparate causes in there that people are fighting for, there was no way that she could turbo it (ph) and equivocate way or the


WALKER: It is a deeply divided government, a deeply divided Conservative Party and a deeply divided Commons and part of the problem, also, is that

the overwhelming view in the Commons doesn't necessarily reflect the overwhelming view of the people out there who voted for Brexit in the first

place. It was without doubt an incredibly different process.

[18:15:05 ]

WALKER: But I think many also feel that given that, given the closeness of the vote, given the huge difficulties across both parties, that if she had

earlier in the process tried to establish some form of consensus across the Commons that would have prevented the crisis that we're facing now because

at this stage, of course, the Labour Party wants to make sure that it does not get the blame for this Brexit.

QUEST: I just say, I hear what you say but I wonder whether that was ever possible. Was it ever possible to find a consensus?

WALKER: It would have been difficult.

QUEST: Is this is the worst political crisis you've seen?

WALKER: Undoubtedly. Nobody even most senior ministers now do not have a clear pathway out of this. We are really into unchartered territory on

what seems likely is that when we get to Thursday's vote on a potential delay, at that stage different groups of MPs will start trying to seize

control of the process to pursue either a second referendum, possibly a general election, other ministers are still talking about a third go at

Theresa May's deal, which has now rejected comprehensively a second time.

QUEST: Never say never. All right, we'll continue. Stay where you are. Another rough day for the Boeing company as one country after the next

decides to ban its 737 MAX 8 airplane. There is one nation not on the list. We'll take a look at why the U.S. has decided not to ground the



QUEST: Now in the last few moments, the FAA in the United States has tweeted concerning the global crisis facing the Boeing 77 MAX. "The FAA

continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots. Thus far, our review shows no

systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding of the aircraft nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that

would warrant action. In the course of our urgent review of data on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, if any issues affecting the continued worthiness

are identified then the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action."

But this is the important bit here. This is the important bit. "Our review shows no systemic performance nor have other civil aviation

authorities provided data that would warrant action."


QUEST: Now, this begs the question -- why then have all the others? This is the FAA looking firmly in the nose of everybody and saying, "You do what

you want, but we're going do go our own way because we don't have any evidence for grounding the plane."

Now, this is extraordinary because the plane has been involved in two deadly crashes in the past five months. The last, of course, being in

Ethiopia and a growing number of countries are banning the aircraft. Airlines are grounding it and yet, of course, as you have just heard then,

the U.S. has yet to make a move on why they haven't.

So the plane's manufacturer, Boeing is saying safety is Boeing's number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of MAX. Peter Goelz

joins me live from Washington. Peter, we must just focus exactly on what the FAA is saying. I heard, you know, I can say this now. I had frankly

expected them to move and ban and ground before the day's end, but this, Peter, this is brazenly saying, "We don't care what everybody else is

doing, we've got no evidence. They can't prove it to us. We are not going to do it."

PETER GOELZ, AVIATION ANALYST: Right. I think you have to understand, Richard, that particularly over the past 10 or 15 years, the FAA has prided

itself on being data driven. That the facts will out, you know, and looking at the operational statistics that have been provided to the FAA by

Southwest Airlines, by American Airlines, they see a very reliable plane.

The pilots of Southwest and the pilots of American Airlines have both backed the aircraft today so they see no data whatsoever to pull this

aircraft off the line and that's something that the FAA really prides itself on.

QUEST: Right. So, taking that as the point, what about then all those other authorities that talk about precautionary measures? In the interests

of safety and most importantly, an abundance of caution. All of these other authorities are not saying the plane are dangerous. They're just

saying on the balance of risk, it is best to be on the safe side.

GOELZ: And I think that is understandable and the FAA and Boeing has asked does anyone -- can anyone present any information that will help us

unravel, frankly, these two tragedies? And the data just hasn't been there.

Now, it is understandable why some of the other countries have taken the stands that they have. But the FAA is not going to move, at least in the

immediate future.

QUEST: Is it not legitimate, though, to say to the FAA, in the absence of data we ground while we wait for data? It's back to this idea, Peter, of

the abundance of caution. I understand fully what the FAA is saying but, you know, we're talking about very respectable authorities that have

grounded and normally aviation likes to speak with one voice, which is entirely the reason you have the JAA which is also with IATA which is also

the FAA. They follow each other.

GOELZ: Those are great points, Richard. Aviation does like to speak with a single voice and particularly today, the aviation authorities that have

come out and grounded the -- you know, called for a grounding of the 787 MAX includes some of the most respected in the world. The British aviation

authorities, the French, the Germans, Singaporean authorities. These are the top investigative and top regulatory agencies in the world that the FAA

is standing alone with Canada and a few others, but is testament to their relationship, I think to the aircraft and to the manufacturer.

QUEST: Do you think that's a mistake, Peter, that they should stand alone?

GOELZ: Well, I think -- I think that it is a very difficult question and I guess my position would have been it probably would have been wisest to

stand down until the full report comes in.


GOELZ: Both from Lion Air, which we have not gotten a full report from and we ought to insist that the Indonesians move forward with it and from

Ethiopia Air.

QUEST: Peter, I appreciate it. Thank you. The news is moving fast and I appreciate you reacting to it.

GOELZ: It is.

QUEST: I spoke to the CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines who was sharing more details about the crash. Tewolde GebreMariam mentioned flight control

problems apparently and started by expressing his condolence. Here's a part of our interview -- exclusive interview.


TEWOLDE GEBREMARIAM, CEO, ETHIOPIAN AIRLIINES: I also take this opportunity to pass my sympathy, heartfelt condolences to our dear

passengers who have lost their lives in this tragic accident and my condolences to their families, friends and relatives.

QUEST: You said in your last press statement that the pilot reported technical difficulties. Do you know any more information about what that


GEBREMARIAM: The pilot reported flight control problems. So he was having difficulties with the flight control of the airplane. So he asked to

return back to base and clearance was given to him. That was at 8:44 a.m. where at the same time, the airplane disappeared from the radar.

QUEST: But no further details about what those flight control problems were? Whether they were related to the new MCAS system or anything


GEBREMARIAM: As you know, in the industry we call it flight control because it's a general reporting system, so since then, as you might have

followed, you know, we have grounded four airplanes that we have and China has also grounded the airplane followed by Singapore, Sustralia, U.K. and

Jet Airways and Com Air of South Africa have also voluntarily grounded their airplanes, so more than 100 airplanes are now grounded all over the



QUEST: CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. That's it from here at Westminster. Amara is at the CNN Center with more.

AMARA WALKER, ANCHOR, CNN: Richard Quest, thanks so much and I know it's been a long day to you. Great work to you and the team. We're going to

take a short break from here, when we come back, just months after being found guilty of child sex abuse, Cardinal George Pell will soon find out

how long he will be spending behind bars. We will have the details in a live report next.




MAY: Let me be clear, voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face.


A. WALKER: But the British opposition leader was equally clear after the Prime Minister's revised Brexit deal suffered a huge defeat in the House of

Commons Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn said the clock had run out on Theresa May. He even suggested it may be time for a general election.

The E.U.'s Chief Brexit negotiator also weighing in. In a tweet, Michel Barnier said it's now up to the U.K. to solve the impasse now that the

agreement has been rejected.

And the European Council President told CNN, a no-deal Brexit is now more likely. That is an option lawmakers will vote on in the coming hours.

Bianca Nobilo joining us now live from outside the British Parliament.

Bianca, you've been covering this for hours and hours now, fill us in on what this means and why. I mean, tell us why Parliament resoundingly said,

"No, we don't care about these legally binding changes that you got for us."

NOBILO: Well, the reason that the majority of Theresa May's Brexiteer back benchers still rejected her deal, she did manage to win over a few that she

didn't have last time supporting her is because the changes that Theresa May secured last minute with the European Union last night when we were

talking simply didn't go far enough.

They had asked her to replace this issue of the backstop, so that's the thing that locks the entire U.K. in a Customs Union with the E.U. They

told her to replace that with something else, with alternative arrangements. Instead of doing that, she basically reduced the risk that

the U.K. would have to remain in it. So that's quite a watered down tepid version of what they were after, so they just thought it just didn't go far


There were some that were won over by the fact that they were afraid that if they didn't back the Prime Minister's deal, they face the unknown and

that could mean a much softer Brexit or even not leaving at all.

The Prime Minister was also hoping to get some support of across the aisle from the opposition Labour Party that's because it's not really a party

political issue Brexit. There are MPs on both sides who support remain and support leave but she didn't manage to gain any of their support. Only

three Labour MPs supported her tonight and only three supported her the first time.

So that's really why in broad brush strokes, the Prime Minister wasn't able to make the necessary progress and what that means is that we go into a

vote tomorrow which will be on whether or not to approve a no-deal scenario and then if that is rejected which is the expected course, we'll then move

to a vote on whether or not to ask the E.U. for an extension on Thursday.

And so what all of that means is when we're just over two weeks out from leaving the E.U., when most observers would have expected some clarity at

least, the picture is now getting more and more cloudy.

A. WALKER: Okay. So, in the coming hours there will be a vote in Parliament on whether or not they'll vote for a no-deal Brexit. You say

that that is unlikely that that will pass. Thursday, there will be a vote on whether or not to delay Brexit.

Now, how likely is it that we are heading towards a no-deal Brexit considering the E.U. may or may not have an appetite to give the U.K. an

extension because they would want an explanation as to how this extension will actually help solve the impasse, right?

NOBILO: That is the E.U.'s position. They've said they want to reason why Britain would be requesting an extension and that's what Theresa May has

also said. She said that extending doesn't solve anything. That the problem exists right now and the way to resolve that is by voting for her


But to answer your question about how we get to a no-deal, well, the fastest route would be for Parliament to approve a no-deal tomorrow but as

I said, that's unlikely. Then, the next option would be that Parliament rejects a no deal and then also rejects the option to extend the


That means we're left with a default, which is Britain leaving the European Union on the 29th of March.


NOBILO: But again, that is unlikely because even though the country at large voted to leave the European Union, the composition of Parliament is

actually in favor of remaining in the European Union, so we could safely assume that lawmakers would vote against that and would try and avoid a no-

deal in all circumstances because they see it as a nightmare scenario en masse, one which could affect people's livelihoods, ability to get

medicines and food and so on.

A. WALKER: Bianca Nobilo, appreciate you very much. Thank you for that. Now, we are keeping an eye on a courtroom in Melbourne where we will soon

be seeing Cardinal George Pell as he faces sentencing for child sex abuse. We're going to go live in the report next.


A. WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. Disgraced Cardinal George Pell will learn his sentence just months after being found guilty of five counts of

child sex abuse. That sentencing in Melbourne, Australia is set to get under way next hour.

Our Anna Coren has been following the developments. She is joining us now with the very latest. Hi there, Anna, and it is expected that Cardinal

Pell will get significant prison time, right?

ANNA COREN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, that's right, Amara. We are expecting a lengthy prison sentence for Cardinal George Pell who is being

transported from the remand center where he has been kept for two weeks to Melbourne County Court just a few blocks away.

He is expected to be in that courtroom at 10:00 a.m. local time in Melbourne, that's in about 20 minutes' time and that is where he'll learn

his sentence. They are expecting somewhere between five to ten years, but obviously, that is up for speculation. He has convicted of child sexual

abuse on all five counts.

Now, each of those counts one for sexual penetration of a child, the other four for indecent acts with or in the presence of a child. They each carry

a maximum sentence of ten years, so as we say, he is looking at a lengthy prison sentence.

Certainly the chief judge, he --Peter Kidd, he has said that this was a brazen attack and that Cardinal Pell acted with impunity. Now, his

remarks, his sentencing remarks are going to be televised live. This is not something that normally happens in Australia, but because of the

enormity of the situation and because of who Cardinal George Pell is, of course, he was number three at the Vatican as the Vatican Treasurer, as an

adviser to the Pope, the chief judge believes that it is very important to be absolutely transparent and to explain why he has handed down the

sentence that he will be handing down within the next hour.

But for George Pell, Amara, he has been in prison now for the last two weeks. He obviously maintains his innocence. He has from the get-go. He

has lodged an appeal and that appeal will be heard in June.


COREN: But, you know, Amara today is a momentous day for the survivors of clerical sexual abuse, particularly in the town of Ballarat, this of course

is the hometown of George Pell that is also the epicenter of Australia's clerical sexual abuse scandal.


COREN (voice over): Sprawled across the Victorian Central Highlands, an hour and a half's drive west of Melbourne a city that carries guilt and

immeasurable pain. Built from the gold rush of the 1850s, Ballarat was always a staunch Catholic community that unknowingly entrusted a group of

pedophile priests and Christian brothers with its children stealing the innocence of a generation.


PHIL NAGLE, ABUSE SURVIVOR: I didn't know it was sexual abuse. It was more I thought I was getting punished for something that I had done wrong.

I mean, we used to get the strap from some teachers and wrapped over the knuckles by others but, Brother Pharrell to take you out and what I now

know is sexual abuse, he sexually abused me.


COREN (voice over): Phil Nagle was just nine years old when the abuse began at St. Alipius Primary School in 1974. His teacher, Brother Steven

Pharrell asked him to get some sports equipment kept in the sick bay. Next thing, he was pinned down and attacked.


NAGLE: I was left there to -- wondering why I was wet between my legs and all of that because he obviously ejaculated on me, so back in those days I

always carried hanky, so I sort of cleaned that up and got my pants back on and went down to the toilet block and cleaned myself up more and went back

to class and that was the start of what was going to be a very horrific year.


COREN (voice over): But Brother Pharrell wasn't the only pedophile working there. There were two other Christian brothers constantly preying on

children. While the priests who would become one of Australia's most notorious pedophiles, Father Gerald Ridsdale was living in the presbytery

next door.


NAGLE: And the male kids were also were attacked in class, yes, sexual abuse was rampant. It was definitely rampant.


COREN (voice over): Cardinal George Pell who grew up in Ballarat became good friends with Ridsdale. They lived together in the presbytery in 1973

and two decades later, Pell accompanied the priest to court. Ridsdale would eventually plead guilty to sexually abusing more than 60 children.

One person yet to go to police is Ridsdale's nephew, Nick. He says he was 12 years old when his uncle began abusing him and to this day suffers



NICK RIDSDALE, ABUSE SURVIVOR: Yes, nightmares are pretty bad. You get pretty scared. Still. I'm 54 and I'm still scared of this.


COREN (voice over): He's convinced Pell and the Ballarat diocese knew what Ridsdale was up to and covered up the abuse moving him from town to town to

yet another group of unsuspecting children.

The Royal Commission would later find a catastrophic failure in the leadership of the diocese. Pell denies any knowledge of a cover-up.

Ridsdale is in jail and up for parole in 2022.

When residents found out about the abuse from the Royal Commission, they began tying ribbons to church and school fences, a tribute that still

continues to this day.

COREN (on camera): For the survivors of clerical sexual abuse here in this country, the wheels of justice have turned incredibly slowly. But now with

the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the boy from Ballarat who made his way up to become number three at the Vatican, they hope this is a sign that

no one in the Church is above the law.

COREN (voice over): It took Phil Nagle and his older brother who was also abused by Pharrell 20 years before they finally reported it. Pharrell

pleaded guilty but received a suspended sentence. Phil flew to Rome with Nick and other survivors to listen to Pell's Royal Commission testimony in

2016 and met with the Cardinal afterwards to read out the names of his deceased classmates.

He claims a third of the boys in this photo committed suicide because of the sexual abuse they suffered at school, and while he's battled suicidal

thoughts over the years, he knows he must keep fighting to hold the Church accountable so no one forgets the crimes that he and many others say have

taken far too many lives.


NAGLE: I think in history it will get marked down as one of the horror houses of the world for what happened there and people quite often say to

me, how come more victims haven't come forward? Well, I've got a class of 33 and 12 of them are gone. So what are those 12 going to say. They're

not here anymore. They certainly can't talk anyhow.


A. WALKER; Very moving report. Our thanks to Anna Coren for that. Thank you, Anna. And that does it for this hour of "CNN Today."


A. WALKER: Thanks for watching. I am Amara Walker.