Australia court jails cardinal for six years — George Pell

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The four-year royal commission found in its 2017 report that the Melbourne Archdiocese had ignored or covered up allegations of child abuse by seven priests in a bid to protect the church's reputation and avoid scandal.

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

Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell will be sentenced on Wednesday after his conviction for sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in the 1990s, with the judge expected to impose a prison term on the Catholic Cardinal.

Pell was found guilty of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another at St Patrick's Cathedral after a Sunday mass.

A court order had prohibited media from reporting on the verdict until two weeks ago, when prosecutors abandoned a second trial on charges that Pell had groped two boys in a public swimming pool in the 1970s.

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

CJ Kidd further described the actions as "brazen and forcible attacks on two victims", with Cardinal Pell's "decision to offend reason [ed], albeit perverted".

"I do so without hesitation", Kidd said, noting that Pell was a figure of authority. "Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending", Judge Kidd said.

The judge recognised that sexual abuse can have debilitating impacts on children and the ramifications can be seen later in their development, but said that one victim's death from an accidental heroin overdose in 2014 was not considered to be a direct result of Pell's offending.

In a rare move reflecting interest in the high-profile case, the sentencing will be broadcast live on television although the camera will only show the judge and not the court room.

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Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd on Wednesday ordered Cardinal George Pell to serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole.

His conviction has rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope's closest advisers.

"Your conduct was permeated by staggering..." Each offence carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence.

Days later, the Vatican launched an internal investigation into Pell, who remains a cardinal, which can lead to him being defrocked.

Warning: this article discusses sexual and child abuse.

Pell has also been placed on the child sex offender register for life.

Pell sat emotionless and unflinching as the sentence was handed out.

Pell has maintained his innocence throughout and has filed an appeal on three grounds, set to be heard in June.

The sentence has been criticised by some survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, who claim the punishment is not commensurate with the crime.

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