Cardinal George Pell has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing two teenage choirboys in the 1990s.
The 77-year-old was found guilty in December of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne after a Sunday mass.
A former top adviser to Pope Francis, he is the most senior Catholic to be convicted for child sex offences.
On Wednesday morning Pell stared directly at a judge while he learned his fate – a non-parole period of three years and eight months which means he may die in jail.
In remarks broadcast live around the world from Melbourne County Court, Chief Judge Kidd called Pell’s crimes ‘breathtakingly arrogant’ and said the abuse has caused ‘long-term and serious harm.’
He said Pell’s age and lack of offending for 22 years meant he is not a danger to the community and is not likely to re-offend.
The judge also took into account Pell’s ailing health as he suffers from high blood pressure and congestive heart failure which requires him to have a pacemaker.
But because the disgraced cardinal still denies the abuse and is appealing the conviction, Judge Kidd said he had shown ‘no remorse or contrition’ which could have reduced the sentence.
Pell, who was until late February the Vatican’s treasurer and once considered a pope in waiting, will be on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.
After the sentence was passed, stony-faced Pell signed some paperwork and bowed before being escorted out of court to jail by five corrections officers.
Some in court embraced while police outside were given three cheers by sex abuse victims.
Source: Daily Mail