George Pell, age 77, was found guilty last December on charges of sexually abusing choirboys after a Sunday mass back in 1996. On top of this, another charge of a second assault just months later. Disgustingly, Pell abused the boys only two months after announcing the ‘Melbourne Response,’ which was a plan on how to deal with sexual abusive clergymen.
Pell is one of the most most prominent Cardinal’s of the Catholic Church, and is Australia’s most senior cleric (meaning the nation’s most powerful Catholic). Rightfully so, the case has gained traction as the world watches to see how this all plays out. And it seems that waiting may soon be over.
The County Court Chief Judge, Peter Kidd, has officially sentenced Cardinal Pell to six years’ in jail for his allegations. Recently, Pell has spent the last few weeks in custody, waiting to be sentenced in his case after already being found guilty of five charges of child sexual abuse. The charges include one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16, and four separate counts of committing an indecent act with a child. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Media, abuse victims, advocates and more all flooded the courtroom to witness the sentencing. The doors opened around 9:30am local time, and within minutes every seat in the courtroom was taken.
Chief Judge Kidd was more than open about the sentencing, and his condemnation of the ‘witch hunt’ mentality. He’s quoted of saying “I am mindful I am sentencing you within a unique context.” He continued, stating “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.” His full statement may be found below:
The sentencer declared that Pell’s heinous actions had ‘significant and long lasting impact’ on his victims. Both still anonymous, they’ve been referred to as J and R. Kidd announced “J has experienced a range of negative emotions which he has struggled to deal with for many years since this offending occurred… he has found it difficult because of issues of trust and anxiety.” However, even though J’s trauma was apparent, R’s wasn’t so easy as there wasn’t a statement. R passed away of a heroin overdose back in 2014, and never reported any abuse. Many have seen Pell’s abuse as the leading cause for his drug abuse and eventual death.
After a suppression order was lifted, George Pell’s surviving victim made a statement. “Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact on my life.” Despite all of this, and sentencing of six years, Pell continues to deny the charges. He’s appealing against his conviction, but even with the three grounds his defensive team will argue, not much is likely to come from it. They’re main point is that the jury verdict was ‘unreasonable.’ Australia’s Court of Appeal will hear his case over a two-day event in June.
Works Cited: USAToday.com, ABC.net.au