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Cardinal Pell Gets Six Years on Child Sex Charges; Families Grieving Loss of Loved Ones for Plane Crash; Wealthy Parents Coaches Accused in Massive Fraud; ISIS On Verge Of Losing Last Syrian Stronghold; Lawmakers Rejects PM's Latest Deal With E.U. Leaders; 2013 CNN Report: Boeing 787 Dreamliners Grounded Globally Due To Fire Risk; U.S. Regulators Resist Calls To Ground Boeing 737 MAX 8. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 13, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause with breaking news this hour. It appears the end may be near for ISIS in Syria. After 24 hours of intense shelling, ISIS is on the verge of losing the territory it holds just outside the town of Baghouz. 3,000 jihadi fighters have surrendered to U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman joins us now live from eastern Syria with the very latest on the battle. So Ben, explain to us what is it that you have seen and heard the last few days which indicates that you know, this is now different, that this is, in fact, the final push to try and take that last sliver of territory away from ISIS?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What tells us that this is the last push is that what we've seen over the last 12 hours was a continued assault. In the last previous two nights, it went on until about midnight and then was quiet with a bit of pickup at the beginning of the day.

This went on all night long. In fact, just as you were coming to me, there were two air strikes right behind me. What also is different is that we're hearing a lot of small arms fire which would indicate that ground troops are trying to advance inside the encampment behind me. But they are running into resistance.

We're told that two positions that the SDF was able to take overnight were then retaken, overrun by jihadi fighters. We're also told that the Jihadis used at least five suicide car bombs overnight as well making the advance much more difficult.

But just the tempo of the bombardment and we've seen artillery going in, mortars, and air strikes as well. It has been relentless throughout the night and now into the morning. So it's different from what we've seen before. And this would indicate that the final push, the final push may be on.

VAUSE: Ben, this has been slightly never-ending military assault. They -- you know, we've been hearing about this final push for weeks now. Why is it being so difficult to take you know, what is a -- what a half square mile is a miserable territory away from a what's left of you know, a couple hundred jihadi fighters.

WEDEMAN: There are two factors involved. One is the presence of women and children inside. First, there was the town of Baghouz. The first operation began just over a month ago and what happened was after about two to three days of assault, they stopped because they -- there were so many civilians inside. They underestimated the number and what they saw was that when given an opportunity, thousands, in fact, tens of thousands of people left the area.

And then there was the second attempt to retake this encampment behind me. That was again stalled by the presence of civilians. We saw more not only civilians then, the fighters started to surrender as well. And so that is one of the problems in trying to carry out this assault, to retake this final sliver of land.

The other problem is that we are dealing here with some of the most battle-hardened experienced and frankly fanatical Jihadis that ISIS has ever had. And therefore they are -- as I said, they're putting on a fight. Despite the bombardment we saw overnight, they have actually managed to counter-attack under these circumstances.

And using their methods that we know so well, car bomb, suicide bombers, it does make the going difficult. But they are wildly outnumbered and also outgunned and so it really is just a matter of time and I think time has run out for them. John?

VAUSE: And with regards to what you say they're wildly outnumbered, what are we looking at in terms of the U.S.-backed forces on the outskirts of this you know, enclave and what do we know essentially about the firepower and the manpower that ISIS have that they're hoping you know, will withstand this for however long they can?

WEDEMAN: As far as sort of the manpower for ISIS, they -- the SDF is given up trying to estimate. They've sort of made mistakes time and time again and they're honest. They say, look, at this point we're just not going to guess or guesstimate. As far as what they're -- what's arranged against ISIS, it is significant.

You're talking about several thousand troops with the Syrian Democratic Forces but they are backed up by special forces from the United States, Britain, and France. Those forces are manning very sophisticated and heavy artillery and mortars. Plus, the air power of the United States and I believe the French are also involved with the air strikes.

So I mean, it really is -- they could finish them off in a matter of hours if they were -- if the United States and its allies really wanted to bring out the heavy stuff, the MOAB so to speak. But it appears that they're going about it somewhat more cautiously. [01:05:44] VAUSE: MOAB, the Mother Of All Bombs they call it, almost

as powerful as a nuclear blast in conventional terms but let's see what happens. Ben, thank you. Ben Wedeman live for us there for the very latest. Also with Ben, his team producer Kareem Khadder, cameraman Scott McWhinnie and team member Adam Dobby we thank them all.

Moving on now, it's not the British Prime Minister's worst defeat but it's still bad. Lawmakers voted down her new and improved Brexit deal on Tuesday and with that both time and options are running out. Deal or No Deal Brexit it will happen in 16 days. CNN Bianca Nobilo has more now on Parliament's next move.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Theresa May put her Brexit deal to the House of Commons for the second time on Tuesday. This after gaining some last-minute concessions to the most controversial parts on Monday night, but it wasn't enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ayes to the right 242, the Nos to the left 391.

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: The Ayes to the right 242. The Nos to the left 391. So the Nos have it. The Nos have it.

NOBILO: The last-minute changes the Prime Minister was able to agree with the European Union weren't enough to convince her Brexiteers that Britain couldn't be locked in the backstop permanently. She also wasn't able to secure enough support from the opposite side of the House of Commons, the Labour Party. So this now means that plenty of questions rear their head once more.

THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: If the House votes to leave without a deal on the 29th of March, it will be the policy of the government to implement that decision. If the house declines to approve leaving without a deal on the 29th of March, the government will following that vote bring forward a motion on Thursday on where the Parliament wants to seek an extension to Article 50.

If the House votes for an extension, the government will seek to agree that extension with the E.U. and bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date commensurate with that extension.

NOBILO: The Prime Minister has confirmed that on Wednesday there'll be a vote on whether or not the House of Commons will approve a No Deal scenario. And that vote will be a free vote, meaning that no lawmakers are being pressured into taking a position by their own party.

If that's rejected then there'll be another vote on Thursday on whether or not to ask the European Union for an extension. Bianca Nobilo CNN London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: CNN's European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas back with us live again from Los Angeles. Dominic, OK, so the next tortured step in this journey, you know, all the votes and everything else, it's all heading towards what looks to be you know, an appeal for a deadline extension. But on that, not so fast. Here's Theresa May once again. Listen to this.


MAY: The E.U. will want to know what use we mean to make such an extension. And this house will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke Article 50? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want -- does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal? These are an enviable choices. But thanks to the decision that the house has made this evening. They are choices that must now be faced.


VAUSE: Is it possible that Brexit could simultaneously both never happen but at the same time debate around it never end.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, at the moment, it's a runaway train. And if nothing happens to stop it, in other words, if the European Union doesn't provide an extension on the 29th of March, the U.K. leaves the European Union with no deal.

So tomorrow is an attempt to begin to address that by voting to stop a No Deal but ultimately the ball now firmly and squarely lies in the court of the European Union. And it's going to be up to them, to the 27 other countries to decide what are the conditions going to be for them to be able to provide an extension.

VAUSE: OK, so if they do get this extension, there are a lot of options that come with that. You know -- and you know, why don't we go back to the British voters, get some kind of mandate to move this process forward either with a second referendum or maybe call an early election. Labour clearly has been pushing for the latter. Listen to this.


[01:10:17] JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: The Prime Minister has ran down the clock and the clock has been ran out on her. Maybe it's time instead we have a general election and the people could choose who the government should be.


VAUSE: So what are the chances of either happening you know, the second referendum or the early election especially if Theresa May is there. But if she's forced out of number ten, I guess that changes the game. But even then, you know, early elections or another referendum both are not silver bullets.

THOMAS: Yes and there are all sorts of things that one has to consider. First of all, she survived a vote of no confidence within her party so she's safe from them for one year. Jeremy Corbyn has already tabled a motion of no confidence in her, she survived that.

So once again, she has a very thin majority in parliament with the support of the DUP. And it seems that when it comes to ousting her for the time being at least, her thin majority are willing to hold on to her.

The only way that she can go about triggering a general election would be to step down. And I don't think she has any intention of doing that, or to go to Parliament and ask for there to be a two-thirds majority in order for there to be a general election.

Now, no matter what, whether it's a general election or the referendum, the ultimate point of any one of those exercises is to essentially say that the houses of parliament, the elected officials have been unable to come to any deal.

What better option could there be than to go back to the British people who are now more educated and one would have to assume that after having gone through three years of these long protracted discussions that they should actually want to weigh in on this particular issue.

Of course, what the outcome would be of those given the massive divisions that exist in the house is also highly unpredictable.

VAUSE: You know, Theresa may lost this vote despite all the talk of legally binding changes going back to the E.U. making sure the Irish backstop provision that you know, that the U.K. would not be led to some kind of legal limbo within the E.U. customs unit union.

I know that would be a legal binding outcome and you know, many lawmakers had actually been waiting for the Attorney General Jeffrey Cox to give a legal opinion you know, which many hope would be in support of Theresa May to give them some cover.

But when ITN's Jon Snow tweeted that Cox had been told to find a way to make it work, counter to his advice, Cox replied with one word, bollocks. Which seems to set the tone you know, for Theresa May and the rest of the day. In fact, the rest of the days ahead when it comes to Brexit.

THOMAS: Well, you can just imagine as we talked about the kind of the enormous pressure that he must have been -- than he must have been under. But look, he's a well-respected lawyer and he looked at the paperwork that in any case, you know, at best was kind of you know, weak legal kind of matters sort of cobbled together at the last moment you know, in Strasbourg. And then she brought it back to the houses of parliament.

There was no way that he was going to give this, the appeal of the seal of approval, sorry, and that it needed for this to be able to go forward.

VAUSE: OK. Here's part of an editorial in The Washington Post which seems to sum up the political crisis. The central challenge in any election or further parliamentary debate is overcoming the demagoguery of those on the conservative right and Mr. Corbyn's left. I can't talk today. Who insist against all evidence that Britain can make a clean break with the continent while simultaneously preserving its economic health and the fragile peace in Northern Ireland which depends on an open border with the Irish Republic. The refusal by conservative ideologues and left-wing opportunist to abandon those unsustainable positions explains most of what has gone wrong in British politics in the past several years.

And it seems there is no reason to believe that anything is going to change in the weeks and months ahead.

THOMAS: Yes. I think they're absolutely dead on. There's a political crisis and the leadership crisis. In terms of the Conservative Party, the far-right Brexiteer wing have behaved appallingly leading up to the Brexit referendum and in the moment after which they are holding the country hostage.

In terms of the Labour Party, the Labour Party has treated as backbenchers appallingly. You either toe the line and blindly support Jeremy Corbyn or all sorts of pressures are being imposed on these members of parliament and there is a horrible atmosphere within that party.

Having said all of that, the greater crisis I think that we're seeing here and that we've seen throughout Europe in elections for the last few years and the British system is therefore rather particular, you're either in power or you're in the opposition.

We have witnessed in places like Belgium and Italy and Germany and other countries, the Netherlands for example, the longest coalition talks in the history of those countries with a proliferation of political parties. But at least they have a place to go and people have parties to vote for.

When it comes down to the British system, you essentially have the Conservative Party and the Labour Party as well as a few other smaller political groups. And within each of these configurations today, there are at least two or three political parties that they have nowhere to go and there is no opportunity to create any kind of real coalition to move things forward here in a meaningful way.

[01:15:02] VAUSE: Demagoguery is what I was trying to say. Thank you. Thanks for --

THOMAS: That was good.

VAUSE: And I got the right into act. Thanks, mate. Be well. Still to come. After two deadly crashes just months apart, Boeing 737 MAX is being grounded around the world with one very notable exception, the United States. Take a closer look at the incredibly high stakes here for Boeing.

And later this hour, two stars of the small screen are among dozens of elites charged in a college admissions scam. The likes of which the United States has never seen before.


VAUSE: It's a question being asked a lot, and right now seems difficult answer. When 70 countries have grounded Boeing 737 MAX, why is the Federal Aviation Authority in the U.S. with its notorious reputation to safety, the odd man out?

Allowing the plane to continue to operate after two several fatal crashes in just five months. CNN's Tom Foreman, reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Facing serious safety questions and brutal political headwinds, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is being grounded around the globe. In the United Kingdom, the European Union, much of the Asia, Australia, and more.

In some cases, even other variants of the MAX airliner are being parked as many airlines say they won't use the plane until they have additional information about the fatal crash in Africa on Sunday, and the one last fall in Indonesia. Grounded almost everywhere except in the United States where it is still flying tonight.

All of which is creating an uproar in the U.S. where a growing list of lawmakers is urging caution if not by federal agencies than by the airlines.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Every one of these planes should be grounded right away. They are accidents waiting to happen. I've advised my family members to switch Airlines.

FOREMAN: Still, the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Airlines that use the MAX 8 are standing by it. The Southwest Pilots Association is extremely confident in the plane. Despite concerns from other aviation professionals such as the flight attendants unions.

A software update is in the works for the aircraft, but Boeing says, "Even now, we have full confidence in the safety of the MAX. But in Africa, as searchers scour the crash sites, Ethiopian Airlines is reporting initial details from the pilot of the doomed plane that seemed eerily suggestive of a software problem which some analysts believe can make these planes uncontrollable.

[01:20:00] TEWOLDE GEBREMARIAM, GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: So, he was having difficulties with the flight control of the airplane. So, he asked to return back to base and clearance was given for him.

FOREMAN: He never made this. And that is clearly on the minds of some U.S. travelers who have found themselves somewhat alone in the world aboard Boeing MAX 8 planes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I prayed a little bit more than usual, I think, but it is out of my hands. So, I had to make it on the plane. The odds of you winding upon one of these planes is actually very low. There are only a few dozen of them flying in the United States, compared to 70,000-80,000 flights a day, something like that.

But proponents say, that's all the more reason to ground them. That won't really have much impact on air flow. But if you let them keep flying and one of them goes into these midair convulsions where the pilot and the plane are fighting each other, the potential for dire consequences on the air and on the ground really go up. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Global business executive Ryan Patel, joins us now live from Los Angeles. Ryan, it's been awhile. It's so good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, right now, the United States and Canada are the only major holdouts here. Grounding a plane, it's a big deal. But it has happened before. Look at this.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Grounded indefinitely. All 50 Boeing Dreamliners worldwide were parked on tarmacs Thursday. This, after the FAA ordered U.S. 787s to stop flying until there is proof their lithium-ion batteries are safe.


VAUSE: You know, one difference between then and now is the number of planes involved here. 53 airliners back then, versus what, more than 380 of the 737 MAX 8. (INAUDIBLE) that doesn't seem to be much of a difference in terms of risk to travelers.

So, is that a factor, which the FAA would take into account the impact and the disruption to air travel?

PATEL: Well, you would hope so. But I mean, they've really kind of come out and said that they have all the data that they have at that time right now. That is to suggest that. And I think, this is what we are missing.

I mean, you obviously trust and believe what the FAA is saying. But when other countries are to ground this plane, and that you do not have the pure actual facts behind what led to it.

This is not a case of just any airline. And you should think what would happen in the 1980s with Tylenol when they got into issues and a few people died with taking over the cyanide pill with Tylenol, they took everything off -- everything off that play and put consumers first.

And I think what consumers and citizens today are looking for, in now, their calling for the airlines is, don't put -- if there's a risk, even a tiny chance, take it off the table.

You need to do this, and obviously, with the example, you just showed, they had the battery issues. So, you could see what's actually see what was going on. And in this case, we just don't know. Even though there is this confidence that there is no issue right now. But, I feel that there is going to be pressure coming to tomorrow and the next day on these airlines and on the FAA to continue to relook at this.

VAUSE: Yes, I think, as passengers become more aware, start canceling their flights, then, that could actually result in maybe a grounding.

But you know, back in 2013 when the Dreamliner was grounded, Boeing agreed to pay its customers for the cost of pulling those planes from service. But it kept building the 787 jets at its normal pace, even as the planes stayed grounded for several months. Boeing said the cost of the problem was minimal, and it did not report any lost sales because of the groundings.

But the 737 looks to be a very different story. Here, the cost of grounding all 737 MAX planes could be between $1 billion and $5 billion, according to estimates from Wall Street firms and Melius Research and Jefferies. Both estimates were based on a three-month- long grounding.

So, again, this comes back to the sheer numbers of the 737 MAX in service. So, is Boeing up for lost airline revenue (INAUDIBLE) its planes is sitting on the tarmac because of a safety issue and a mandatory grounding? How does the liability actually work?

PATEL: Well, you used mention that this is a big deal. I mean, if people don't know, these orders have been for the next 24 months. This is what their fleets going to continue to look like going forward. If revenue is obviously to get in and take a hit right now, with -- I mean, this is not just a short term.

Yes, they -- if everyone to stop, yes, they will -- they're going to lose money. But it's not about losing the rest of the orders. The orders are going to actually start getting delayed.

I mean, in the last seven days, stock -- the stock price took a $37 billion hit. That's just in the last seven days. And so, they obviously, they're looking at this as a holistic viewpoint. I mean, shareholder value right now, and they have a lot of (INAUDIBLE) are coming back to hold.

I mean, even up actually, the stocks have been up, including the last few days, 20 percent, year to date. So, they've had a pretty good run. But to your point, the 737 MAX 8 is something that is the future for them, and it is worrisome when they cannot maybe potentially fulfill these orders over the next two years.

VAUSE: Yes, I mean, the stock was down on Tuesday about six percent -- more than six percent at the close. And clearly, this has a big impact on Boeing, but what impact does it have on the Dow? PATEL: Well, I mean, it was interesting. The Dow today was, I think, some I -- it wasn't -- it didn't take too much of the beating. But I think the next few days with Boeing, I guess, to me, the news now, what will lead to, is what will you find in that black box.

[01:25:09] VAUSE: Yes, if there is a grounding --


PATEL: Is the story --

VAUSE: Sorry, if that does no problem, if there is a grounding, you know, what does that mean for the stock price and also for the Dow? I guess is what was --


PATEL: Well, yes, note, the ground -- if they continue grounding, will have -- will definitely have an effect. People will read into this, this market will react to the last revenues and expenses.

Think about when things are grounded, yes, you lose money, but there's expenses tied to that. And their high expenses tied of that with staff, with fuel, with everything.

So, this is something that is not budgeted in. And obviously will be a bad quarter or if not further depending how long that perspective timeframe is.

VAUSE: Just going to put this out there. If the airplane at the center of these two increasing crashes was an Airbus, may by -- you know, Europeans and not Boeing, would that have made a difference to the FAA's decision?

PATEL: Oh, why are you put me on the spot?

VAUSE: I like doing that.

PATEL: Like, I'll be I would hope not. But all signs, and I think that's -- this is why I really do believe, and I hope that the consumers raise their voice. If I've already heard from multiple people, they're checking what flight they're on. I mean, who's doing that now? What type of airplanes people are searching? That means people are scared. And if people are scared, I think this is the time of regulations and governments kind of come and step in. And not sidestepping -- or not sidestepping a question, but it makes it look like that's the case as what's going on.

And if I'm the FAA, and the rest of anyone involved, you don't want that to look like that.

VAUSE: Yes, yes, we're out of time, but you know, safety is as much about the nuts and the bolts and you know, what works and what does that as well as perception.

And if people are afraid, and if they're afraid, you know, then you have a problem. Ryan, thank you.

PATEL: Thanks.

VAUSE: Well, after the Ethiopian plane crash, the U.S. president weighed in on airplane technology, and tweet, "Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all too all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one necessary step further," unnecessary step, he said.

"When often old and simpler is far better much like me. Split second decisions are needed and the complexity creates danger. All of this for a great cost yet very little gain. I don't know about you, but I don't want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane."

After the tweet, Donald Trump spoke with by phone with CEO of the Boeing. A spokesman said that the CEO reiterated to the president that the 737 MAX, the aircraft is safe to fly. And all that technology it's actually making flying safer.

And well, still to come here. A court on Australia has handed down a prison sentence with Cardinal George Pell.

In a moment, we'll have the details on how long the highest-ranking Catholic official ever convicted of child sexual abuse will spend behind bars.


[01:30:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

British lawmakers have handed another defeat to Prime Minister Theresa May and her new and improved Brexit deal. On Tuesday they voted down the latest agreement 391 to 242.

In the coming hours we'll see another vote on whether to pursue a no deal Brexit. The deadline for leaving the E.U. is still March 29th.

U.S. aviation officials say there's no basis to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 even though many countries around the world are doing so as a precautionary measure. The aircraft is under scrutiny since it has been involved in two deadly plane crashes in the past five months. Boeing says they value safety and has full confidence in the plane.

The former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell is headed to prison in Australia for child sexual abuse. A judge has sentenced Pell to six years behind bars though he could be eligible for parole in less than four. Pell was found guilty back in December of abusing two choir boys in the late 1990s.

CNN's Anna Coren has been following the story for some time. She joins us now, live from Hong Kong with the very latest development.

And this doesn't -- you know, I guess on the surface -- does not seem to be particularly long, but it came with a lot of relief for victims of abuse by the church.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a great deal of relief. There were many survivors of clerical abuse outside Melbourne county court this morning. And they were very pleased to see that Cardinal Pell was going to jail and serving a lengthy sentence on a more lenient side than perhaps what they were hoping for, but still serving jail time.

Now the father of the deceased choir boy, he was there. His son died of a heroine overdose back in 2014. And he said he was disappointed, that he had hoped that George Pell would receive something like 20 years. That he was living a life sentence because of his son's death. And Cardinal Pell just got six years. In actual fact, he'll only be serving probably three years and eight months, eligible for parole in 2022.

But as you say John -- this is a momentous day for so many survivors. Particularly, in the town of Ballarat. This was George Pell's hometown. It was also the epicenter of clerical sexual use in Australia.


COREN (voice over): Rolled (ph) across the Victorian Central Highlands an hour and a half's drive west of Melbourne is the 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 pedophile priests and Christian brothers with its children stealing the innocence of a generation.

PHIL NAGLE, ABUSE SURVIVOR: I actually didn't know it was sexual abuse. It was more -- I thought I was being punished for something that I'd done wrong. We used to get the strap from some teachers and rapped on the knuckles while others -- Brother Farrow would take you out and well, I now know it was sexual abuse. He sexually abused me.

COREN: Phil Nagle was just nine years old when the abuse began at St. Alipius Primary School in 1974. His teacher Brother Stephen Farrell asked him to get some sports equipment kept in the sick bay. Next thing he was pinned down and attacked.

NAGLE: (INAUDIBLE) Wondering why I was wet between my legs and all that because he obviously ejaculated on me. So afterwards (ph) i always carried a hanky so I sort of cleaned it up and then got my pants back on and went down to the toilet and cleaned myself up and I went back to class. And that was the start of what was going to be a very horrific year.

COREN: But Brother Farrell wasn't the only pedophile working there. There were two other Christian brothers constantly preying on children.

While the priest who would become one of Australia's most notorious pedophiles Father Gerald Ridsdale was living in the presbytery next door.

NAGLE: The kids get also targeted in class, you know, sexual abuse was rampant. It was definitely rampant.

COREN: 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.

COREN: 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 nightmares.

NICK RIDSDALE, ABUSE SURVIVOR: The nightmares are pretty bad. You're pretty scared still. I'm 55 and I'm still scared of nightmares.

COREN: 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.

[01:35:02] 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 churches' whole fences, a tribute that still continues to this day.

(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.

It took Phil Nagle and his older brother who was also abused by Farrell 20 years before they finally reported it. Farrell 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 also, he knows he must keep fighting to hold the church accountable so no one forgets the crimes that he had 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 that people (INAUDIBLE) how come more victims haven't come forward. Well, we've got a class of 33 and 12 of them are gone. So those 12 are not here anymore. They certainly can't talk to you. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Such courageous people for sharing their heartbreaking stories. and John -- if we just step back to Cardinal Pell and his sentencing today. Chief Judge Peter Kidd who allowed his remarks to be televised, he described the attacks as brazen, appalling, sexually graphic. He said that the cardinal acted with impunity and breathtaking arrogance.

He however did say, that he took the cardinal's age and deteriorating health into consideration when sentencing him. But George Pell is now a registered sex offender. He will be a registered sexual offender for the rest of his life.

He has maintained his innocence, continues to maintain his innocence and has lodged an appeal. That appeal will be heard, John, in June.

But between now and then Cardinal George Pell is behind bars. And as we say, if his conviction stands up he will not be eligible for parole until 2022.

VAUSE: Yes, I guess the appeal is one reason why Cardinal Pell has shown no remorse at least at this stage.

Anna -- thank you. Anna Coren, live for us in Hong Kong.

Be sure to watch our Saturday special here on CNN, "SINS OF THE CARDINAL AND HIS CHURCH", 5:30 a.m. in London, 1:30 pm in Hong Kong.

Still to come, grief and sorrow among the wreckage of a tragedy. Hear from one family mourning the loss of a loved one, killed in that Ethiopian plane crash.


VAUSE: Now to Africa where investigators are still working to determine the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash which killed 157 people on Sunday.

CNN spoke to one family in Kenya, trying to come to terms with the devastating loss of a loved one.

Here's Farai Sevenzo.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After a death, there are prayers. This family in Nairobi's Kibera neighborhood is mourning a loved one, lost too soon. Abdullahi Ibrahim Mohammed (ph) was a victim of the ill-fated Ethiopia CO2 flight. But without Abdullahi's body, a special prayer is required.

YUSUF ABUHAMZA, UNCLE OF CRASH VICTIM: This one was done specially for this case. It's not every day that we are faced with such circumstances but this is a very special circumstance that called for a very special prayer that is only done for somebody who is absent. SEVENZO: Abdullahi 34, worked as a lab technician in Saudi Arabia.

He had decided to pay his family a surprise visit. His father told CNN, he called them the day before to say he was coming home.

It was a life of distance and separation from his family home in Kibera. But for him it was worth it his mother says as he wanted to change his family's fortunes.

MOTHER OF ABDULLAHI IBRAHIM MOHAMMED (through translator): He had many plans. he said when he comes back he would buy as some land and build us a palatial home. As long as we continue to pray for him to stay alive. If he's alive, he would do it for us. But God cut short his life.

SEVENZO: Abdullahi became one of 157 people whose lives were cut short on a Boeing 737 Sunday. Missing from this family scene is Abdullahi's his young wife and his elderly father, both now in Ethiopia to find his body and bring him home. And this matters to his mom.

MOTHER: If it is ashes, I want them to bring them. If it's bones, I want them to bring them. As long as we see him. That is the only way we can move on.

SEVENZO: Farai Sevenzo, CNN -- Nairobi.



VAUSE: California Governor Gavin Newsom is set to sign an executive order which would suspend the state's death penalty. The moratorium will serve as an immediate reprieve for the 737 people sentenced to death in California which has the largest death row population in the U.S.

[01:45:05] And one of America's biggest criminal justice reform advocates has lent her support . Reality TV star Kim Kardashian tweeted, "Racial bias and unfairness went deep throughout the Justice system but especially when it comes to the death penalty."

Everything that is wrong with the United States in terms of corruption, entitlement, the haves versus the have not seem to come together in what prosecutors have described as an unprecedented scam to secure much coveted place at an elite university. Fifty 50 people including two actresses, CEOs and colleges coaches are facing charges but this outrage is being felt across the country, especially for any kid who worked hard, played by the rules but was still denied a fair shot.

Randi Kaye has details.


ANDREW LELLING, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR MASSACHUSETTS: We're here today to announce charges, in the largest college admission scam every prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A jaw-dropping scam dubbed "Operation: Varsity Blues", involving at least 50 people accusing wealthy parents of allegedly cheating so their children would be admitted into prestigious schools.

One of the schemes involved parents allegedly paying millions for fake athletic credentials just so their children could gain entry to college by being accepted to the school's athletic team. To be clear, these were not really student athletes.

LELLING: Singer helped parents take staged photographs of their children engaged in particular sports. In one example, the head women's soccer coach at Yale in exchange for $400,000 accepted an applicant as a recruit for the Yale women's team despite knowing that the applicant did not even play competitive soccer.

The student was in fact admitted, and afterwards, the student's family paid Singer $1.2 million dollars.

KAYE: Singer -- the man he mentioned is William Rick Singer. Not only did he allegedly staged those photos but he also is accused of arranging for others to take online high school classes in place of the real students so those higher grades could be submitted instead.

The money paid by wealthy parents was listed as contributions to his sham charity, Key Worldwide Foundation.

LELLING: Singer's clients paid him anywhere between $100,000 and $6.5 million.

KAYE: One of the 33 parents named in the indictment, actress Felicity Huffman best known for her role on "Desperate Housewives".

FELICITY HUFFMAN, ACTRESS: I forgot the keys to Mr. Tom's casa could you let me in, por favor.

KAYE: According to the criminal complaint, Huffman and her husband actor William H. Macy are accused of making a charitable contribution of $15,000 to the fake charity. Huffman is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud after allegedly paying Singer's organization.

In a recorded phone call evidenced in the investigation she's heard saying, "We're going to do like we did with my older daughter." Singer response "Ok. So we'll take it with her and for her at Igor's place at the West Hollywood Test Center."

Along with Huffman, actress Lori Loughlin who played Aunt Becky on "Full House" is also charged.

LORI LOUGHLIN, ACTRESS: I have a confession.

KAYE: Court documents say Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team despite the fact, that neither daughter ever participated in the sport of rowing.

And according to one of the daughters own YouTube post, she didn't care much for school either,

OLIVIA JADE GIANULLI, LORI LOUGHLIN'S DAUGHTER: But I do want the experience of like game days and partying. I don't really care about school as you guys all know.

KAYE: Their parents have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Worth noting, this was Loughlin on the "Today" show back in 2017 playing proud mom as she talked about sending her daughter off to college.

LOUGHLIN: I think I'm in complete denial.


LOUGHLIN: I really am because when I think about it too much it will make me cry.

KAYE: Authorities seized fake charity account. Court documents show it had more than $5 million in it. Schools named in the complaint include USC, UCLA, Stanford, Georgetown, University of Texas in Austin, Yale University and others in Boston.

Late today, the man behind the college scheme admitting in court, "I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in."

Randi Kaye, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: CNN's legal analyst Areva Martin joins us now from L.A.

Let me start with this. This is stomach churning because it says to every kid who worked twice as hard for half as much that doesn't matter. You can do whatever you want to do, it doesn't count. Because the elites, the people with the money they'll just spend what they've got to spend and they'll do it illegally, they'll deceive, they'll lie, they'll cheat and they'll get their kids it no matter what.

[01:50:07] And for those other kids who missed out and it seems that all the kids who missed out, not just at those universities but they're not (INAUDIBLE). That kid when to another university bumping another kid out, bumping another kid out.

So what my question is, we know that these parents are now facing charges. Will they actually face any real severe penalty here?

You know, I don't really feel we want them in jail.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, that's a great question John. So one of the things that the U.S. Attorney said in the press conference this morning was that, the sentencing guidelines are very stiff in terms of the penalties for the crimes that they've been charged with upwards to 20 years. But they're going to look at each individual case.

Some of these people obviously are going to enter into a plea agreements with the U.S. attorney. Some may become cooperating witnesses. So what each individual gets will depend on individual circumstance.

You know, how much did they pay this Singer guy. You know, what was the level of their bribe? You know, what's their own criminal background. Other mitigating factors will come into play.

But one thing that the U.S. Attorney said and I think we should not take lightly. He said look, we are not going to have two system of justice where people because they're affluent and have get a different sentence than those who don't have money.

We already know in the college university admission process, that, you know, this an extreme form of a system that favors the rich and powerful. So when you think about legacy students, you think about the students of faculty members. There's already built into the process a mechanism by which those students that have money and power, get preferential treatment over students that don't have the same access to resources.

So this is shocking, on so many levels. It's something that many of us have always known happened, just not at this level. And now it's been exposed.

And what we're told by the U.S. Attorney is this isn't the end. This is the beginning for a very expansive investigation that may involved many other people being indicted including parents, school administrators and other individuals who have participated in this conspiracy.

VAUSE: There's two justice systems. We know that there is justice for the rich and there's justice for the people who aren't; and there's justice for people of color and justice for white folks. And you know, anyway.


VAUSE: If you look at the parents who're being charged here, you know, not just the, you know, the small time TV actors. Look at CEOs, look at the chairman of the big law firm. And what that says to me, that's an indication that this was accepted. No one thought it was wrong, or that it is illegal. Or that it was punishable with a serious, you know penalties here. This is just how it was done WHEN YOU GET TO THAT LEVEL..

MARTIN: They didn't care John. When you read what is in that criminal affidavit, that partner in the law firm had an extensive conversation with Rick Singer, you know, trying to figure out if he would get caught. And I think at one point, he said, he didn't care about the ethics or the morality of what he was doing. He just wanted to make sure that he doesn't get caught.

VAUSE: Maybe does now.

MARTIN: Well, I'm sure he does now, but that's what so galling about this. You know, what's funny to me is, I grew up on the wrong side the tracks. And we were always told that education was the way to level the playing field. These people have everything. They have every advantage. We saw Lori Loughlin's daughter say she didn't even want to be at college. She was just there for the parties. This was really her mother's idea.

This girl's already a social media influencer. She has over two million followers on YouTube. She has endorsement deals. So you have to ask the question why would parents go to such great length when they have already every advantage that you can imagine.


VAUSE: Is there any way to stop it? Is there (INAUDIBLE), you know, what is right and what is wrong. And you know, part of the scheme here according to prosecutors involved parents using staged or doctored photos to show their children, participating in the sport which they had never even participated before.

You know, if you're a kid, (INAUDIBLE) and now you end up at Yale as part of the water polo team. You know, surely there has to be some kind of culpability to them. They have to realize that something isn't right. I mean they're adults. Is there culpability to bear?

MARTIN: I totally agree with you. I'm not buying that all OF these kids were completely oblivious to this. You know THAT you haven't studied. You know that you've got mediocre or poor cards throughout high school. So if you get an admission letter saying you've been accepted to Yale and you've been a poor student, it doesn't take, you know -- you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out something is wrong with this picture.

So it's not only the students that I think also need to be, you know, looked at more closely. But what about the other people in these colleges. I'm not buying that one college administrator had the power to admit students.

College admission process, this involved lots of people. So I hope this investigation includes looking at college presidents, deans, provosts and the other people that are involved in the admissions process. Because you have to imagine that these schools had a culture that didn't focus on accountability and put profits, you know, over accountability and ensuring that fairness was served and done with respect to the admissions and that students like these students didn't get slots that should have gone to hardworking students that earned the right to be at those colleges.

[01:55:06] VAUSE: Here's the icing on the outrage right. "As part of the scheme, William dinger describes the bribe payments from clients as charitable contributions to the Key Worldwide Foundation. Afterward a KWF employee would mail letters to the client begging them for their donations.

Your generosity will allow us to move forward with our plans to provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged used, the letter said according to prosecutors.

So he said this, digging in on one hand they get the kids in the university where they should be getting in. And then because this is a charitable contribution they could use it as part of the tax deduction on their income tax for the year. It's outrageous.

MARTIN: They claim them as, you know, charitable contributions made to a legitimate 501-c3 organization. They took the deductions. But you raise such an interesting point, John about the mission of this fraudulent nonprofit was to help disadvantaged. How ironic is that. That the so-called mission of this nonprofit was to help the very students whose seats are being taken from them because these parents are bribing the universities.

And we should talk about the disabled students too because this lawyer, this law partner flew his daughter to Los Angels, got a bogus diagnosis that she was disabled, that she had some kind of learning disability. So that she can request more time to take the college admissions exam. An exam which, by the way, was either doctored or somehow, you know, there was cheating with respect to that exam.

So now every time a disabled student -- I happen to be the parent of one, requests additional time which is legitimate and legal, there's going to be some question in the mind of that test taking organization of that college about, whether this person does truly have disability that would warrant that additional time. So people that are victims in this whole fraudulent scheme.

VAUSE: Yes. And when you think about, you know, we're out of time Areva -- I know parents, especially friends of ours who spent every waking hours since their kids were born working on getting them into an elite school because that's the opportunity that they want, and it's all for nothing you know, in some ways. But you know, we'll see what happens here.

Areva -- thank you.

MARTIN: My final thought is John -- get a tutor, get a tutor. You know, get a tutor.

VAUSE: Yes. I mean, you know --

MARTIN: Nothing The thing criminal about tutors


VAUSE: It seems like everything is rigged and that's why people are angry. Areva -- thank you

MARTIN: Absolutely. Thanks -- John. VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

The news continues on CNN right after this.