The sentencing for Australian Cardinal George Pell, 77, has been delivered. Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria Peter Kidd sentenced Pell to 6 years in prison with non-parole period of 3 years and 8 months.
Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the late 1990s when he was Archbishop of Melbourne and publicly leading the Australian Catholic Church’s response to the decades-long child abuse scandal.Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria in Australia Peter Kidd during the hearing on Wednesday said, “I have no doubt that you will experience some stress while in custody. I will make allowance for these matters. Your age is a significant factor in my sentencing exercise. As I have indicated before, you are now in your late 70s. It is relevant in a number of ways. You may not live to be released from prison. In addition to not having any prior convictions, I am satisfied that the evidence before me is that you are someone who has been, in the last 22 years, since the offending, of otherwise good character.The argument of your counsel that this offending was committed by you, George Pell, the man, and not by you, George Pell, the Archbishop, must be roundly rejected. You were profoundly revered, Cardinal Pell, which imbued you with and legitimised your authority.
“The power imbalance between adult and child is usually amplified within an institutional setting For example, despite there being no grooming, I have still found that you made a reasoned and deliberate decision to engage in this inexcusable conduct of the first episode. It was common ground at the plea that this effectively means that you are to be sentenced on the basis of the account of the victim, J, who gave evidence at trial. I find beyond reasonable doubt that on the specific facts of your case there was a clear relationship of trust with the victims, and you breached that trust.Your admonishment of the victims was an explicit expression of your authority over them. “
More updates soon…