Most Senior Catholic Cardinal Sentenced to Six Years For Child Sex Abuse

George Pell must serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months.

cardinal convicted
Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in prison. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
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Cardinal George Pell was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for molesting two choirboys in an Australian cathedral in a crime the judge said showed “staggering arrogance.”

Pell must serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole, according to the judge’s order. The five convictions against Pell carried a maximum possible sentence of 10 years each, the Associated Press reported.

“In my view, your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance,” Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd said when handing down his sentence.

But, in explaining his sentencing decision, the judge said Pell had led an “otherwise blameless life.” Kidd said he believed given Pell’s age and lack of any other criminal record, the cardinal posed no risk of re-offending, according to the AP.

Pell, who was Pope Francis’ former finance minister, was convicted by a unanimous jury 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 the late 1990s. The crimes reportedly took place just months after Pell became archbishop of Melbourne.

The former Cardinal showed no “emotion during the hourlong hearing and barely moved throughout,” the AP wrote, even when signing documents that will register him as a sex offender for life.

“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,” one of Pell’s victims said in a statement read by his lawyer. “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.

The 77-year-old still denies the allegations against him and will  appeal his convictions on June 5.

“…There is no rest for me,” Pell’s victim added. “Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal.”

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