Australia court jails cardinal for six years — George Pell

Australia court jails cardinal for six years — George Pell

Pell is the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church to be found guilty of abuse.

Pell has spent the past two weeks in custody and was brought into the court from the Melbourne Assessment Prison (MAP) via an internal entrance, avoiding rows of cameras set up outside the court in central Melbourne.

Australia was rocked last month when news broke that Pell had been convicted of five counts of child sex abuse against the two teenage choirboys during his time as Archbishop of Melbourne.

The court had issued the suppression order on the trial out of concern that a second trial where Pell was charged with molesting two boys at a Ballarat swimming pool in the 1970s could be prejudiced by a guilty verdict in the first case.

CJ Kidd further described the actions as "brazen and forcible attacks on two victims", with Cardinal Pell's "decision to offend reason [ed], albeit perverted".

Justice Kidd made it clear the sentence was based exclusively on the crimes Cardinal Pell was convicted of by the jury, and that Cardinal Pell was not to be made a scapegoat for the failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church.

"Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance", said Judge Peter Kidd.

The Chief Justice did note that Cardinal Pell should not be made a scapegoat for the past crimes of the Catholic Church.

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"As Archbishop, you occupied the most senior leadership position.you were a pillar of the St Patrick's Cathedral community.the evidence shows you were profoundly revered.the choirboys were the least powerful and most subordinate.you had a degree of confidence the victims would not complain". He faced a maximum of 10 years in jail for each charge.

Pell, who has maintained his innocence and plans to appeal, appeared in a Melbourne court after being convicted on five offences including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997.

The courtroom is also expected to be packed with abuse survivors who have their own interest in the result, beyond that of Pell's surviving victim, now aged in his 30s.

While sentencing, Kidd said that the boys, one of which committed suicide long before the trial, experienced huge emotional distress from Pell's actions had "significant and long-lasting impact" on J's life.

The other boy died in 2014.

Portions of each sentence are to be served concurrently with the sentence for sexual penetration, meaning Pell will serve six years in jail.

Outside the court, a silent protest called for the Catholic church to be held accountable for child sexual assault.

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