Cardinal jailed for child sexual abuse in Australia
The former vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has been jailed for six years following his sexually abusing two boys in Australia.
He is the most senior Catholic figure ever to be found guilty of sexual offences against children.
Pell was accused of abusing a 13-year old choir boy in a melbourne cathedral in 1996
The cardinal pell aged 77, says he is innocent of the charges leveled against him and is appealing against his convictions.
In sentencing Pell on Wednesday, a judge said the cleric had committed “a brazen and forceful sexual attack on the two victims”.
“Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance,” said Judge Peter Kidd.
In December, a jury convicted Pell of one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.
His conviction has put the catholic church in a state of turmoil and confusion where he had been one of the Pope’s closest advisers.
The survivors travelled down to melbourne on wednesday to witness the cardinal’s sentencing,and the courtroom was packed full with people from all over australia who came to witness his sentencing.
Pell will be appealing the decision and his appeal will be heard in june,he will however be eligible for parole after three years and eight months.
Pell had abused the boys following a mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996, when he was archbishop of Melbourne.
After telling them they were in trouble for drinking communion wine, Pell forced each boy into indecent acts, prosecutors said. He abused one of the boys again in 1997.
The testimony was from one of the victims. The other died of a drug overdose in 2014.
The Judge was of the opinion that Pell’s abuse was particularly callous because the cleric had been in a position of power.
“You were the archbishop of St Patrick’s Cathedral no less, and you sexually abused two choir boys within that cathedral,” he told the County Court of Victoria.
The judge said there was a “real” possibility that Pell may not live to be released from prison, and that he put his age and health status into consideration while making the sentence.
Judge Kidd added that Pell should not “be made a scapegoat” for the shortcomings of others within the Catholic Church.
The lengthy sentencing was broadcast live a move that was unusual by the local court – but it was meant to serve as an “open justice” for all.