What happens to the disgraced cardinal now — George Pell


The father of the other victim, now deceased, expressed his disappointment with the sentence, which could see the cardinal freed on parole after three years and eight months.

In December, a jury unanimously convicted Pell of one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

Pell was found guilty in December of sexually abusing two boys at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne in 1996.

The ruling was only announced late last month due to a suppression order.

Pell - a former top advisor to Pope Francis - is the most senior Catholic to be convicted for child sex offences. It was not immediately clear if he will also appeal the sentence.

Kidd also said there had been "examples of a witch-hunt or lynch mob mentality" in the community following Pell's conviction.

That risk may be reduced by time in protection and in time, Pell may be able to mix with a limited number of heavily vetted prisoners, the commissioner noted.

Pell was Australia's most senior Catholic as the Vatican's treasurer - the third highest ranking member of the Church - between February 2014 and when he was stood down by Pope Francis in August past year.

The Chief Justice did note that Cardinal Pell should not be made a scapegoat for the past crimes of the Catholic Church.

He pointed to the brazenness of Pell's offending from a position of power and authority as the newly-installed Archbishop of Melbourne. Kidd described the assaults as egregious, degrading and humiliating to the victims.

He took into account Pell's ill health and clean record outside the sexual abuse for the sentencing length.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Kidd rejected submissions from Pell's legal team, which objected to the broadcast on grounds that it amounted to a form of "extra-curial punishment", or additional negative consequences resulting from the offence.

The surviving victim, referred to as "victim J" in the judge's sentence, said in a statement read by his lawyer, "I respect what the judge said". "It is hard for me, for the time being, to take comfort from this outcome". However, there is no rest for me.

Howard said he was aware of Pell's conviction and pending appeal but that "none of these matters alter my opinion of the Cardinal".

"I want to give him a hug".

The news has come with mixed feelings because although the Catholic Church's former third highest official will go behind bars, people feel it's not enough.

"You were confident your victims would not complain". She said Pell's reaction was cold and that seemed uninterested in what she had to say.

SNAP, a US support group for victim of clergy abuse, described the sentences as "comparatively light".

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"Every victim is sentenced to a lifetime of pain and suffering, we get a lifetime sentence".

Pell suffers from hypertension that is exacerbated by stress and has a dual-chamber pacemaker, the judge said.

George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on March 5, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

Pell's sentencing comes on the sixth anniversary of Francis' election as pope.

Pell will be at least 80 when released.

"Pell was extremely unpopular in parts of the Vatican, particularly the old guard keen on keeping the old system running because they were doing so well out of it", Pentin told The Age.

"There is no evidence other than you were a competent and intelligent man".

Kidd said the court must demonstrate the "grave consequences" of violating the law and deter would-be offenders.

The Cardinal has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

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

The sexual abuse of children was rarely discussed in public before the 1970s, and it was not until the 1980s that the first cases of molestation by priests came to light, in the U.S. and Canada.

His spectacular downfall brings the heart of the Vatican into the scandal over clerical abuse that has ravaged the Church's reputation across the globe in the past three decades. While almost half (47%) of self-identified Catholics who seldom or never attend Mass say they have considered leaving the church, less than 1 in 4 of weekly Mass-goers say the same.

Australian police interviewed Pell about the survivor's allegations in a Rome hotel in 2016. Those charges have now been dropped.

The trial against Pell has shocked and divided Australia's Catholic Church, and society at large. Pedophiles such as Pell are typically separated from the main prison populations in Australia. He abused both in the sacristy of the church, after Mass, while the doors to the church were open.

"Your decision to offend was a reasoned, albeit perverted, one", the judge said.

He accused Pell of "callous indifference" to the suffering of the boys, who have not been named.

He described an attack on one of the boys having "a degree of physical aggression and venom".