Paedophile Pell (77) ‘showed no remorse’ for sex abuse of boys Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing two choirboys.

Pell is led away to begin his sentence. Image: AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake, File
Pell is led away to begin his sentence. Image: AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake, File

Henry Austin

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  • Paedophile Pell (77) ‘showed no remorse’ for sex abuse of boys
    Independent.ie
    Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing two choirboys.
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Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing two choirboys.

“In my view, your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance,” Victoria state County Court chief judge Peter Kidd told the 77-year-old as he ordered that he serve a minimum of three years, eight months before he is eligible for parole.

Pell, who faced a 10-year maximum sentence for each of his crimes, is the most senior Catholic to be convicted for child sex offences.

Pope Francis’s former finance minister was convicted by a unanimous verdict in December of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and indecently dealing with the boy and the boy’s 13-year-old friend in late 1996 and early 1997. The abuse took place in a room and a corridor at St Patrick’s Cathedral, in Melbourne, where Pell was archbishop.

He was convicted in December, but the verdict was suppressed from being made public by a court order until February 26 when further child sex offence charges against Pell dating back to the 1970s were dropped.

He maintained his innocence throughout and has filed an appeal, which is to be heard in June.

A member of the public reacts to Pell's sentence. Image: AP Photo/Andy BrownbillA member of the public reacts to Pell's sentence. Image: AP Photo/Andy Brownbill
A member of the public reacts to Pell’s sentence. Image: AP Photo/Andy Brownbill

The judge also took pains to note he was sentencing Pell for the offences on which the cardinal had been convicted and not for the sins of the Catholic Church.

“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,” Mr Kidd said.

However, he stressed that Pell had abused his position of power and had shown no remorse for the assaults, which he described as egregious, degrading and humiliating to the victims.

The cardinal showed no emotion during the hearing, standing silently with his hands behind his back as the judge read his sentence. He later signed documents that registered him for life as a serious sexual offender before he was led from the dock by four prison officers.

One of Pell’s victims called the judge’s sentence “meticulous and considered” in a statement read outside court by his lawyer Vivian Waller.

“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,” the man said.

“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. Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal.”

Australian law prohibits the publication of sex crime victims’ identities.

Pell has been held in a maximum security prison since February 27 when his bail was revoked.

His lawyer, Robert Richter, argued for a light sentence, based on his client’s age, heart problems, no prior history of offending, no physical injuries to the victims and the duration of the offences was short.

Mr Richter sparked a furore when, in seeking a light sentence, he called the offence “a plain vanilla sexual penetration case”. He later apologised.

Pell’s abuse “was imbued with arrogance, aggression and impunity”, said Mr Kidd, Chief Judge of the Court of Victoria.

“Your obvious status as archbishop cast a powerful shadow over this offending,” Mr Kidd said of Pell during the sentencing, where he described Pell’s crimes as “brazen” and “grave”.

Pell, who has been held in custody for the past two weeks, now faces years in an Australian prison, a far cry from the apartment where he lived in Piazza Citta Leonina, a small square just across the street from the Vatican’s St Ann’s Gate.

He spent most of his first three decades as a priest in Ballarat, an old gold mining town in the state of Victoria, about 120km from Melbourne.

State and federal inquiries would later find it to be one of the Catholic dioceses worst-affected by cases of abuse, though none of the complaints against Pell stem from his time there.

It was after Pell left his hometown to become Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 that he committed offences against two choir boys in the city’s St Patrick’s Cathedral for which he was found guilty by the 12-person jury. (© Independent)

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