Legal

Wed, 13 Mar, 2019Basmah Qazi

BREAKING: George Pell sentenced for child sexual abuse

BREAKING: George Pell sentenced for child sexual abuse

Disgraced cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to at least three years and eight months in prison due to the “brazen and forceful” sexual abuse of two teenage boys.

Handing a maximum sentence of six years, Chief Judge Peter Kidd announced the verdict in Melbourne’s County Court this morning as he stated that Pell was “breathtakingly arrogant” in his offending.

In December, Pell was found guilty of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another during a Sunday mass in 1996 at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

One of the victims passed away in 2014 due to a drug overdose, with the surviving victim in his 30s.

“In my view, the first episode in the priest’s sacristy involved a brazen and forceful sexual attack on the two victims,” said Judge Kidd.

“The acts were sexually graphic. Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending.

“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.”

Though due to his age, Judge Kidd said he's handed a shorter sentencing than usual "to increase the prospect of you living out the last part of your life in the community".

"You are one of the most senior figures within the Catholic Church globally. You remain a cardinal of the Catholic Church. You are a figure of significant interest to those of the Catholic faith, and to those throughout Australia more generally," Judge Kidd said. 

"As I directed the jury who convicted you in this trial, you are not to be made a scapegoat for any failings, or perceived failings of the Catholic Church."

Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic to be charged with child sexual abuse and until late-February was the treasurer of the Vatican.

Pell has full intentions to challenge the verdict in the Court of Appeal as he claims he is innocent. The hearing will take place in June.

What do you think of George Pell's sentence? Do you think it's fair?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.