Australian cardinal sentenced to prison for child sex abuse

13 March, 2019, 15:42 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Australian Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in prison for child sexual abuse

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register and stood as a sentence well short of the maximum 50 years was set by Kidd, who cited Pell's "otherwise blameless life".

Disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell has been told to expect "significant" prison time when he's sentenced in Melbourne's County Court for sexually abusing two teenage boys in 1996.

County Court of Victoria Chief Judge Peter Kidd, who handed down the sentence in a live television broadcast, said there was a real possibility that at age 77, Pell could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Last year, a court heard that Pell had abused the boys following a mass in St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

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, who was until late-February the Vatican's treasurer, is the highest-ranking Catholic in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

"Cardinal George Pell has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so".

What did the court hear previously?

For two decades, George Pell was the dominant figure in the Catholic Church in Australia - a boy from a gold mining town whose ambition, intellect and knack for befriending influential people propelled him to become the third-most senior official in the Vatican.

"I think it was a very considered sentencing and I think the judge went through the things he could take into account and the things he did not", Dr Waller said.

St Claire told a similar story about Pell when she confided in him about the shocking abuse she and her twin sister Sarah were subjected to during 14 years they spent in five orphanages run by the Catholic Church in the 1950 and '60s. "Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal", he said in a statement read by his lawyer.

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"He gets three years and eight months".

State and federal inquiries would later find it to be one of the Catholic dioceses worst-affected by cases of abuse, though none of the complaints against Pell stem from his time there.

Abuse survivors were among those who travelled to Melbourne on Wednesday to witness Pell's sentencing before a packed courtroom.

Pell also said the Church made "catastrophic" choices by minimizing its response to, and covering up, abuse complaints.

His conviction has rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope's closest advisers.

"You are not to be made a scapegoat of the failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church", said Kidd, criticizing a "lynch mob mentality" among the public.

One of the two victims died in an accident in 2014, while the other, now in his 30s, brought the allegations to police after years of struggling to understand what he had experienced as a child.

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

Pell's appeal has been slated for a hearing on June 5 and 6.

If defrocked, Pell would be the highest profile figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times and only the second Roman Catholic prelate to lose the title of cardinal in almost 100 years.

I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child.

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