George Pell sentenced to 6 years in gaol
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Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two choirboys during his tenure as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
Mr Pell, 77, will serve a minimum of three years and eight months before he is eligible for parole.
County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd described the cardinal’s offences as “a brazen and forcible sexual attack on the victims”.
“The acts were sexually graphic, both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during the offending,” he said.
“There is an added layer of degradation and humiliation that each of your victims must have felt in knowing that their abuse had been witnessed by the other.”
While Chief Judge Kidd condemned Cardinal Pell’s crimes, he was also careful to condemn “lynch mob” mentality.
During the sentencing, the Chief Judge Kidd said:
In sentencing you today Cardinal Pell, I am not sitting in judgement of the Catholic religion or the Catholic Church.
It is George Pell who falls to be sentenced.
We have witnessed outside of this court and within our community examples of a witch hunt [or] lynch mob mentality in relation to you, Cardinal Pell.
I utterly condemn such behaviour, that has nothing to do with justice of civilised society. The courts stand as a bulwark against such irresponsible behaviour.
To other victims of clerical or institutional sexual abuse, who may be present in court today or watching or listening elsewhere, this sentence is not and cannot be a vindication of your trauma.
Cardinal Pell has not been convicted of any wrongs convicted against you.
Cardinal Pell does not fall to be punished for any such wrongs.
I recognise that you seek justice, but it can only be justice if it is done in accordance to law.
For me to punish Cardinal Pell for the wrongs committed against you would be contrary to the rule of law and it would not be justice at all.
In December, Mr Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys who snuck into the priest’s sacristy at St Patrick’s Cathedral, where public access is restricted.
The then-Archbishop discovered the boys, who were 13 at the time, and said words to the effect of “you’re in trouble”.
He started moving something under his robes before pushing one of the boys’ heads down toward his exposed penis.
One of the boys asked Mr Pell to let them go, but instead the cleric forced the other boy’s head down to his crotch and orally penetrated him.
After several minutes, Mr Pell ordered the boy to undress and masturbated as he molested him.
Two months later, Mr Pell briefly assaulted that boy a second time in a cathedral corridor.
Mr Pell maintains his innocence and an appeal against his conviction will be heard in June.
This is a developing story.
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