Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pell jailed for 'brazen' choirboy abuse

Pell jailed for 'brazen' choirboy abuse

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

Pell - who appeared in an open black shirt, light tan jacket and cane - nodded to a friend in court after being brought in by police but then stared straight ahead, showing no real sign of emotion during the sentence.

Chief County Court judge Peter Kidd said in his sentencing that he accepted that prison time will be more onerous for George Pell because of his notoriety and the animosity directed towards him.

Pell is the most senior member of the clergy to be convicted of historical child sex abuse.

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

Pope Francis, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, ended a conference on sexual abuse in February by calling for an "all-out battle" against a crime that should be "erased from the face of the earth".

Sentencing Pell on Wednesday, Victorian County Court Judge Peter Kidd labelled the cardinal's moral culpability as high as he outlined his two attacks on the boys over a month apart. "Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending", he told Pell.

On Wednesday, Judge Kidd said Pell's attack on the victims was "breathtakingly arrogant".

"There is an added layer of degradation and humiliation that each of your victims must have felt in knowing that their abuse had been witnessed by the other".

Pell sat in the back of the courtroom, surrounded by security officers but uncuffed, as Judge Kidd delivered a detailed explanation of the crimes the cardinal had committed and the reasons for the sentence.

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"Despite this, you still indecently acted against (the boy), and did so with what I consider to be a degree of physical aggression and venom", Judge Kidd said.

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.

"This connection and the depth of the breaches and abuses is self-evident". "I don't think six years is long enough", said a victims' advocate outside the court who gave her name as Rhonda.

"On the one hand I must punish and denounce you for this appalling offending".

"There is no evidence other than you were a competent and intelligent man".

"Your obvious status as Archbishop cast a powerful shadow over this offending", he said.

Pell, 77, will be eligible for parole in three years and six months and, if released, will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

His conviction has rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope's closest advisers.

In a rare move reflecting interest in the high-profile case, the sentencing will be broadcast live on television although the camera will only show the judge and not the court room.

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