George Pell sentenced to six years in prison for child sex abuse

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 13, 2019 - Duration: 01:40s

George Pell sentenced to six years in prison for child sex abuse

Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in jail by an Australian court for sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in the 1990s, and will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Ryan Brooks reports.

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George Pell sentenced to six years in prison for child sex abuse

Australian Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in jail Wednesday (March 13).

The man once seen as the third most powerful official in the Vatican was convicted last month of sexually abusing two choir boys - on five counts - in the 1990s.

A judge in Victoria handed down the sentence on live television, reflecting the high public interest in Pell's case.

But only Chief Judge Peter Kidd was shown and the video cut out after the sentence was given.

Judge Kidd said there was a real possibility that Pell, now 77, could spend the remainder of his life in prison.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF JUDGE PETER KIDD SAYING: "You may have thought you could control the situation by reason of your authority as Archbishop, whether or not that belief was well founded.

Such a state of mind would have been extraordinarily arrogant, but the offending, which the jury has found you have engaged in, was on any view, breathtakingly arrogant.

The acts were sexually graphic, both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending.

Pell has maintained he is innocent.

He has filed an appeal set to be heard this June.

Pell's offenses against two 13-year-old boys took place after Sunday mass in Melbourne while he was archbishop.

He was found guilty on four charges of indecent acts and one of sexual penetration and faced a maximum of 10 years in jail for each charge.

The judge made it clear the sentence was based solely on Pell's crimes and that he was not to be made a scapegoat for the failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church.

He also set a parole for Pell of three years and eight months.

Pell will be registered as a sex offender for life.

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