‘Arrogant’ George Pell, sentenced to six years, ‘could die in prison’

‘Arrogant’ George Pell, sentenced to six years, ‘could die in prison’ March 13, 2019
Image via YouTube

IN passing sentence on convicted child abuser George Pell, above, Chief Judge Peter Kidd today told the 77-year-old high-ranking Vatican official there was a possibility that he could die in jail.

I am conscious that the term of imprisonment, which I am about to impose upon you, carries with it a real, as distinct from theoretical, possibility that you may not live to be released from prison.

Pell was convicted in December of one charge of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another at the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia, after a 1996 Sunday mass.

He must spend a minimum of three years and eight months in prison.

The surviving victim of Pell’s abuse gave a statement through his lawyer, Dr Vivian Waller, saying the sentence was overshadowed by the cardinal’s impending appeal in June.

It is hard for me to allow myself to feel the gravity of this moment: the moment when the sentence is handed down, the moment when justice is done. It is hard for me, for the time being, to take comfort in this outcome.

I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child. However, there is no rest for me.

Judge Kidd was scathing of Pell’s offending as he explicitly laid out the facts of the case.

In my view, the first episode in the priest’s sacristy involved a brazen and forceful sexual attack on the two victims. The acts were sexually graphic. Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending.

He added that Pell been “breathtakingly arrogant” in his offending.

After the sentence was handed down, Pell grabbed the railing and lowered himself into the dock.

He was surrounded by supporters and his legal team as he signed documents making him a registered sex offender for life.

One of the boys died of a heroin overdose in 2014, while the surviving victim is now in his 30s.

Pell is classified as an at-risk prisoner, in need of constant protection.

Other victims of child sexual abuse and their supporters gathered outside the Melbourne court from dawn.

Rhonda Janetzki from the Care Leavers of Australasia Network told 9News.

When you think that a child’s life is destroyed from the moment the abuse occurs to the day that they die, George Pell got off really, really lightly. I would have liked to have seen him spend the rest of his natural life in jail reflecting on the crimes he has committed.

But one church member, named only as Kevin, said in an interview outside St Patrick’s Cathedral that  he was not convinced by the guilty verdict and said the result did not shake his faith in the church.

Having come to this church, having attended Sunday mass here, having attended George Pell’s masses, I find it very difficult to perceive. I’m a little disheartened, but Catholics are getting a bashing and it seems like it’s a popular thing to do.

Another Catholic, Andrew, said he hoped Pell would never leave prison.

I’ve got three boys in Catholic schools, it makes me sick. I think the Catholic Church is shuffling it under the carpet and it makes me sick that I pay school fees to a Catholic system and then some of that money goes to the Catholic Church.

In his sentencing, Judge Kidd said Pell was not to be held responsible for other abuses within the church.

You are not to be made a scapegoat for any failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church. Nor are you being sentenced for any failure to prevent or report child sexual abuse by other clergy in the Catholic Church.

H/T BarrieJohn

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  • Raymond Metcalfe

    But one church member, named only as Kevin, said in an interview outside St Patrick’s Cathedral that he was not convinced by the guilty verdict and said the result did not shake his faith in the church. And that is a large part of the problem with abuse and the religion” its not us we wouldn’t do that we are gods people” until they are willing to clear up there own shit until all members of all churches get there heads out of the sand children will be at risk of being abused by these perverts.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Anybody could die in jail.

    I don’t know about Australia, but in the U.S., child predators (priestly or not) are higher-than-average likely to die in prison at the hands of other inmates.

    I hope he lives five years, 364 days, thinking about the dead victim, and the live one.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    I’ve got three boys in Catholic schools, it [the verdict] makes me sick.
    And this from somebody who hopes Pell never leaves prison.

    Wow. I never knew this full quote until I just now looked it up:
    “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.” Martin Luther

  • epeeist

    This from a New York Times article:

    In the 1950s, 74 percent of Catholics in Australia attended Mass weekly. In 2011, only 12 percent of the country’s 5.3 million Catholics went to Mass periodically (not even weekly), and that is expected to fall again when new data is published this year.

  • Pofarmer

    Which kind of falls in line that the remainder are getting more strident.

  • Broga

    This might, at last, persuade some priests that they may face justice for abuse and the haven of “spending their lives in prayer” attended by reverential nuns can no longer be relied on. The Vatican wants to reserve the right to judge predators like Pell; this is what happens in a court of law.

    This will be another blow to the recruitment of priests and the attendees to Mass.

  • bertilow

    “I’ve got three boys in Catholic schools, it makes me sick.”

    So get them out!

  • Broga

    Pell: From hero to zero. The sentence must have been one hell of a shock. All his life this man thought he was invulnerable. Respect, reverence and praise was so built into the job by the fawning of the gullible that he could not have imagined anything else.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    I am gobsmacked by the degree of naivete it takes for a Catholic parent to continue exposing their children to risk of abuse after hearing, understanding, and agreeing with Judge Kidd’s ruling. WTF?

  • TheBookOfDavid

    Good thing for George Pell that he can spend his days in prayer and repentance just as easily from a prison cell as from a cozy apartment located next door to an elementary school. He can take comfort that Jesus will be with him the whole time.

  • Broga

    They have a tough time in the UK and often have to be kept apart. Prisoners think about their own kids and that powers some very strong emotions.

  • Mglass

    This story has not ended yet. There is an appeal against the verdict on Pell that will be heard on 6 June this year.

  • Sau Peih

    That’s why it’s called faith: “strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp. without proof or evidence”.

    Faith-heads don’t do well when actually confronted by evidence.

  • Sau Peih

    “…they may face justice for abuse…”

    Well they seem very strong in their conviction that they won’t face justice in some afterlife their faith purports to.

  • Fraser

    “but Catholics are getting a bashing and it seems like it’s a popular thing to do”… how this rationalization and victimhood is even possible? But then again….

  • Syzygy

    The solution is simple.
    Do NOT give them money.
    I hope he thinks about John Geoghan, and suffers the same fate.

  • Mefistofele

    I wouldn’t be popping the champagne corks just yet. The appeal to be heard in June, is based on some solid arguments, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Pell will be acquitted on procedural technicalities. Keep the bottles on ice for a little longer!

  • Dave Again

    At one stage Pell was being considered as a candidate for the position of Pope. Makes you wonder what would have happened to the Catholic Church if the Pope had ended up in prison. As it stands now, the third most powerful Cardinal is now an inmate.

  • Has anyone else come to the realization that it is quite possible that among the ranks of former popes may well exist ones who were abusing children during the years they performed their ‘duties’ prior to being elected to that office? This possibility includes those who may have been among those participating in the sexual abuse of nuns.

    https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/australasia/article/2187666/vatican-treasurer-george-pell-found-guilty-child-sex-abuse

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/world/europe/pope-francis-church-abuse.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/05/world/europe/pope-nuns-sexual-abuse.html

  • pasapdub@gmail.com

    “In need of constant protection?” Why? I’m sure “Bubba and the boys” could help him understand the travesty of his ways far better than a secluded cell! AND…remember that all he needs to do is confess, do penance and ”sin no more.”

  • Joe Padgen

    “could die in prison” Hopefully not before his full sentence is up but not after he exits the prison grounds

  • Trellia

    I believe it. I had a family member in jail for a few years, and he stated that child predators were considered the lowest of the low in there.