Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Cardinal George Pell Sentenced To 6 Years In Prison For Sexual Abuse

Cardinal George Pell Sentenced To 6 Years In Prison For Sexual Abuse

The lawyer told Judge Kidd that behind bars, Pell would be considered a "lightning rod" for the sins of the Catholic Church. He faced a maximum of 10 years in jail for each charge.

Sentencing Pell on Wednesday, Victorian County Court Judge Peter Kidd labelled the cardinal's moral culpability as high as he outlined his two attacks on the boys over a month apart.

Reporting of the trial and verdict was suppressed by the court to avoid prejudicing a second trial, which crown prosecutors abandoned in February after the judge ruled some prosecution evidence couldn't be submitted.

Pell - a former top advisor to Pope Francis - is the most senior Catholic to be convicted for child sex offences.

Pell was sentenced to six years' jail for sexually abusing the boys when he was Catholic archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

He added Pell could not be made a scapegoat for the church's failings, nor for the trauma inflicted on other victims by other abusive priests.

"Despite this, you still indecently acted against (the boy), and did so with what I consider to be a degree of physical aggression and venom", Judge Kidd said.

Pell - who appeared in an open black shirt, light tan jacket and cane - nodded to a friend in court after being brought in by police but then stared straight ahead, showing no real sign of emotion during the sentence.

Some advocates for abuse survivors said they had hoped for a tougher sentence.

Pell showed no emotion during the hourlong hearing and barely moved throughout.

Chrissie Foster, whose two daughters were raped by a Catholic priest while they were at primary school in the 1980s, watched Pell's sentencing from Canberra and thought the six-year sentence was reasonable.

"It is hard for me to allow myself to feel the gravity of this moment", the victim, who has not been identified, said through his lawyer Vivian Waller.

Warning: this article discusses sexual and child abuse.

"There is no rest for me".

The surviving victim said everything was overshadowed by Pell's upcoming appeal.

One of the victims died of an accidental heroin overdose in 2014 having never disclosed the abuse he suffered at the hands of Pell.

"I think we have to wait and see what happens at the appeal", Mr D'Souza said. "He kept it in for a long time and that would've been hell for him".

"Thank you for your interest in this case", he said.

The father also described the sentence as "a disappointment".

Pell's fate within the church has yet to be decided. He also probably believed his victims would not complain.

Abuse victims' groups also expressed disappointment that the punishment was not harsher.

Judge Kidd rejected Pell's defence argument the crimes were committed by Pell, the man, not the archbishop.

Judge Kidd addressed the current climate of anger with the Catholic Church at Pell's February hearing when he said, "The Catholic Church is not on trial and I'm not imposing a sentence on the Catholic Church".

Though not shortening his sentence, Judge Kidd said he did impose a shorter non-parole period "in recognition in particular of your age, so as to increase the prospect of your living out the last part of your life in the community".

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