BREAKING: Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to a total effective sentence of 6 years imprisonment and a non parole period of 3 years and 8 months for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was the Catholic archbishop of Melbourne back in the 1990s. The sentence was handed down in Victoria’s County Court just minutes ago.
Chief Judge Peter Kidd clearly articulated that Pell’s declining age and health were a huge factor in defining his sentence.
“Facing jail at your age, in your circumstances, must be an awful state of affairs for you.”
Pell has spent the last two weeks in custody awaiting his sentence for one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 years, and four offences of committing an indecent act with a child. The judge rejected all claims by the Cardinal that at the time of the alleged abuse, he was not acting ‘rationally’. Chief Judge Peter Kidd concluded that the Cardinal’s reason to offend was that of a perverted one.
The jury unanimously convicted Pell in December of last year. Before handing down the sentence, Chief Judge Peter Kidd outlined the unique circumstances of the case.
“There has been extraordinary wide spread publicity and public comment that have surrounded you for years. Indeed it is fair to say that within some sections of the community you are a publicly vilified figure.”
“The rule of law demands that I must sentence you…without fear or favour. Further, you are to be punished only on the particular wrongdoing you have done on this indictment. It is vital that the community understands this as well.”
“You are not to be made a scape goat of any other failings of the Catholic Church.”
“While I must punish you for your offending…you are entitled to the balanced and steady hand of justice.”
Leading up to the sentencing today, gates to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral were vandalised with the words “crime scene” last night. The Cathedral in Melbourne’s East was where Cardinal is accused of abusing the two choirboys, just 13 years of age at the time, in 1996.
As George Pell prepared to learn his fate, the words “crime scene” last night lit up the gates to St Patrick’s Cathedral where the sexual abuse of his two 13yo victims took place. I’ll be in court for Pell’s sentencing at 10am. @newscomauHQ Picture: @evo_lens pic.twitter.com/UgskvHlZRm
— Rohan Smith (@Ro_Smith) March 12, 2019
Image Source: @9NewsAUS Twitter, @Ro_Smith Twitter.