Disgraced Cardinal George Pell sentenced in Melbourne

Disgraced Cardinal George Pell sentenced in Melbourne

In his sentencing remarks, Chief Judge Kidd described Pell's offending as "breathtakingly arrogant".

Cardinal George Pell will spend a minimum of three years and eight months in jail for child sexual abuse.

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.

Pell was found guilty of cornering the two boys, who were aged 13 at the time and on scholarships to the prestigious St Kevin's College, in the sacristy after Sunday mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in December 1996, when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

Normal procedure will now see Pell transferred back to the Metropolitan Assessment Prison in West Melbourne, where the former Vatican treasurer has spent the last two weeks awaiting sentence.

The verdict was first made public on February 26 after a court suppression order on the trial, preventing media reporting had been lifted.

Pell, 77, was convicted late last year by a Melbourne court on one charge of sexual penetration of a child under 16 years of age and four charges of committing an indecent act on children.

George Pell maintains his innocence, and a two-day appeal hearing against his convictions has been set down for the start of June.

Before announcing his sentencing, Judge Kidd, who said he had chosen to broadcast the sentencing live, laid out an intricate and thorough examination of his reasonings.

As he delivered the hugely-anticipated verdict, Chief Judge Peter Kidd said that he made a decision to "impose a shorter non-parole period" than he would have done otherwise while taking into account Pell's age of 77.

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


Pell was found guilty of five counts of historic child sex crimes.

"I feel because of his position he should have been sentenced a lot harder", he said.

The broadcast will only show the judge, and not the courtroom, which is expected to be packed with advocates of abuse victims, Pell's supporters and the media.

His conviction has rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope's closest advisers. The second victim - who died of a heroin overdose in 2014 - also must have suffered "an immediate and lasting impact" and his father's statement was considered.

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

The judge said Pell's age was a significant factor in determining his sentence.

Pell will appeal the sentence.

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

In February, the Vatican hosted an anti-child abuse conference in which Pope Francis declared an "all-out battle" against the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Statistics released in 2017 by Australia's Royal Commission into Responses to Institutional Child Sex Abuse stated that 7% of all Catholic priests in the country had abused children over the past six decades.

The Cardinal will be placed on the child sexual offender registry for the rest of his life.

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