Australian Cardinal George Pell gets 6 years for sexually abusing choirboys

MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA- MARCH 13 Robert Richter QC lawyer for George Pell arrives at Melbourne County Court

He's the highest Catholic member to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

"Facing jail at your age in these circumstances must be an very bad state of affairs for you", Kidd said, the Guardian reported.

The County Court's largest courtroom was filled with abuse survivors, advocates and a global television audience.

Sometime later, the complainant said he was again attacked by Pell who pushed him against a wall, fondled his genitals and then walked away. It is fanciful to suggest that you may not have fully appreciated this.

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

The judge also warned that the power imbalance between Pell and the choirboys "was stark". I'm a typical victim, I've got 41 years to date.

Pell's sentencing comes on the sixth anniversary of Francis' election as pope.

Senior crown prosecutor Mark Gibson SC foreshadowed in a pre-sentence hearing Pell would spend "significant time" in prison, including likely long periods in lockdown because of his high profile.

The sentence "makes a mockery of the concept of true accountability and is not a sentence commensurate with the crimes committed and the harm reaped", Blue Knot Foundation president Cathy Kezelman said in a statement. He is "not a risk to the community".

"It was imbued with arrogance, aggression and impunity", Kidd told the court.

Kidd said that Pell was well aware of what he was doing when he traumatized two choir boys, describing his behavior as "reasoned albeit perverted one". The prosecution did not seek a "disproportionate sentence". "It is hard for me, for the time being, to take comfort in this outcome".

"We heard people cheering, and we heard people booing today".

The offences against two 13-year-old boys took place after Sunday mass in late 1996 and early 1997 in a room and a corridor at St Patrick's Cathedral, in Melbourne, where Pell was archbishop.

The judge rejected Richter's submission that no person thinking rationally would molest two 13-year-old boys in a cathedral sacristy after a Mass with the doors open.

One of the victims died in 2014. "How much do we have to suffer, how insulted do we have to be, before real justice occurs?"

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The father said he was "really appreciative and thankful that he did come forward".

"I have no doubt that you will experience some stress while in custody. Three years is not a deterrence from taking the lives of kids". "I would like to thank my family near and far for their support of me, and of each other".

He asked that he be left alone and given time to cope with the ongoing criminal process. "I understand this is a big news story but please don't reveal my identity". Pell was in the conclave that elected him and remains eligible for any potential future conclave until age 80 or unless he is removed.

Pell maintains his innocence and his appeal against the verdict will be heard in June.

Pell's legal team has previously announced it will appeal his conviction on three grounds, including that the jury's verdict on all five charges was unreasonable, based on the evidence submitted.

"Although originally the Cardinal faced allegations from a number of complainants, all charges except for those the subject of the appeal have now been either withdrawn, discharged or discontinued".

Anticipating huge public interest in the sentence, the judge will permit a camera in court to broadcast his remarks live globally. "The process has been stressful and is not over yet", he said.

Pell also abused his position by breaching the trust of his victims.

Judge Kidd told other survivors that Pell would would not wear the blame for their suffering.

Only the judge was made visible to viewers in the TV broadcast, which was cut immediately after the sentence was delivered.

Pell was found guilty of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16, which his lawyer likened to "oral rape", and four charges of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16.

Kidd acknowledged the "extraordinary widespread publicity and public comment" surrounding Pell's case, and observed "examples of a witch-hunt or lynch mob".

Pell will be a "serious sexual offender" for life, says Chief Judge Kidd.

George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on March 5, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. "I think this is a tipping point for the Catholic Church", said Patten.

"This is a really, really sad thing for Catholics like me".

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