Pope anniversary marked by Pell sentencing, scandal fallout

Pope anniversary marked by Pell sentencing, scandal fallout

Pope anniversary marked by Pell sentencing, scandal fallout

The sicko, 77, who molested the two 13-year-old boys in Melbourne, Australia, during the 90s, will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The sentence was handed down Wednesday morning by Victorian County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd, who called Pell's crimes "brazen" and said that his victims must have felt a sense of "degradation and humiliation".

Pope Francis' former finance minister was convicted by a unanimous jury verdict in December of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and indecently dealing with the boy and the boy's 13-year-old friend in the late 1990s, months after Pell became archbishop of Melbourne.

Media outlets were unable to report the guilty verdict until last month, when a suppression order was lifted after a second trial mounted against Pell - involving allegations stemming from a Ballarat swimming pool in the 1970s - was dropped.

Pell has launched an appeal that will be heard June 5.

In emotional scenes, those abused by others joined together in Melbourne to witness the outcome of the sentence hearing.

Pell was found guilty by a jury on four charges of indecent acts and one of sexual penetration.

"I think you did give thought or reflection to this offending and only reasonable inference from the brazenness of your reoffending is that you had a degree of confidence that the victims would not complain either immediately", Kidd said during sentencing, which was broadcast throughout Australia live from a Melbourne country court.

Pell is "entitled to the balanced and steady hand of justice", Kidd told the court, lamenting a "lynch mob mentality" among some of the public.

The surviving victim said everything was overshadowed by Pell's upcoming appeal.

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Australian Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in jail with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

"I feel because of his position he should have been sentenced a lot harder", he said.

Outside court, child abuse victim Michael Advocate told 10 News the sentence was "absolutely outrageous".

Pell's lawyer, Robert Richter, has argued for a light sentence, based on Pell's age, heart problems, no prior history of offending, no physical injuries to the victims and the fact the duration of the offences was short.

She said Pell's reaction was cold and that seemed uninterested in what she had to say.

During his trial, Pell's own lawyer described the burly 1.9 metres tall cardinal as the "Darth Vader" of the Catholic Church. One survivor of the abuse remains alive, the other died of a heroin overdose.

The judge said he considered Pell's health and age when considering the sentence, his likely experience in jail, as well as his perceived risk of reoffending.

The cardinal's crimes have drawn widespread condemnation, though he has retained the support of some high-profile figures in Australia.

With global attention on historic abuse within the Catholic church, Kidd however stressed that it was Pell rather than the Vatican that was on trial.

Courts must send an unequivocal message to would-be child sexual offenders, the judge said.

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