Australian Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the late 1990s.
Pell is the most senior Catholic official to be found guilty in a criminal court of child molestation. The 77 year-old Catholic official faced up to 50 years in prison after being found guilty on one count of sexually penetrating a child and four counts of an indecent act with a child.
However, Pell was sentenced to only six years in prison, and could be out on parole after only serving three years and eight months.
Pell is planning on appealing his conviction.
Last December, Cardinal Pell, who until quite recently was the Vatican’s third most powerful official and a close adviser to Pope Francis, was convicted in Australia on charges that he sexually abused two choir boys in the late 1990s.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, was the Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, and a close adviser and friend to Pope Francis. He is the highest ranking Vatican official to ever go on trial for sex abuse, and he is now the highest ranking Vatican official to be convicted of crimes concerning sexual abuse.
Pell took leave of his position at the Vatican last year to stand trial in Melbourne, where he was accused of sexually abusing two choir boys when he was the archbishop.
According to reports the victims were alter boys in the choir at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were sexually abused by Pell inside the church.
About his crimes, CNN reports:
After mass one Sunday in the late 1990s… Pell caught two choirboys drinking communion wine in the priest’s sacristy and one by one forced them to engage in sex acts, despite their sobs and pleas for him to let them go.
While handing down the sentence, Chief Judge Peter Kidd told Pell:
Facing jail at your age in these circumstances must be an awful state of affairs for you…
Life in prison will be more onerous for you than other prisoners in the general population and indeed other sexual offenders because of your notoriety and the animosity to which you are likely to be exposed…
Yet despite the fact that Australian Cardinal George Pell will serve some time in prison, many felt the sentence was too lenient. For example, Michael Advocate, a survivor of child sexual abuse and founder of Victim Group Actions, described the sentence as “pathetic”. Advocate told 7 News:
— 7News Yahoo7 (@Y7News) March 13, 2019
[I’m] really disappointed. It doesn’t send any deterrent at all. It doesn’t give the victims any sense of justice. You know, less than four years jail time for destroying the lives of two innocent young boys. Is their life only worth two years each?
May Pell rot in his cell… But what about appropriate respect for the victims? What about fair justice? … Six years? It’s pathetic.
Bottom line: Australian Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the late 1990s, and could be out on parole after only serving three years and eight months.