George Pell sentenced for child sexual abuse

"We must remember that victims are sentenced for life".

Judge Kidd addressed the current climate of anger with the Catholic Church at Pell's February hearing when he said, "The Catholic Church is not on trial and I'm not imposing a sentence on the Catholic Church".

"We have witnessed, outside of this court and within our community, examples of a witch-hunt or a lynch mob mentality in relation to you, Cardinal Pell".

In meetings among cardinals before the conclave that elected Pope Francis in 2013, the Australian stood out not only for his imposing height and broad shoulders, but also for his command of financial matters.

"Whatever his reasons, his description of a horrific attack on a minor (which Richter was not conceding actually happened) will do nothing to persuade the Australian public of Pell's innocence", noted the Catholic Herald. When he was called to give evidence at the Royal Commission it was only in relation to his knowledge of others' conduct, and the question of whether he was present when church leaders chose to move offending priests between parishes.

Indeed, the college of cardinals now counts 122 men who are eligible to elect a new pope and thus leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, when the time comes.

Pope Francis last month defrocked the onetime leader of the American church after an internal investigation determined Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually molested children and adult men. The cardinal was convicted in December on five counts of child sex abuse against the two teenage choirboys during his time as Archbishop of Melbourne.

As others have done, Müller said that the circumstances surrounding the alleged abuse undermined the plaintiffs' case, since the incident was purported to have taken place in a public place - the archbishop's sacristy - following a well-attended Sunday Mass.

The following article discusses child sexual abuse. Pell testified to the inquiry on several occasions via video-stream from Rome, having refused to return to Australia because of "ill-health". 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.

He pointed to the brazenness of Pell's offending from a position of power and authority as the newly-installed Archbishop of Melbourne.

Shortly after the suppression order was lifted, the victim's lawyer released a statement on behalf of the victim.

Pell's trial was held in secret to avoid an expected second trial involving the criminal. Pedophiles such as Pell are typically separated from the main prison populations in Australia.

Cathy Kezelman, the president of child abuse victims support group Blue Knot Foundation, said while the sentence was "significant", it is not as much as they hoped for.

They lived together in 1973 in the presbytery at St Alipius church and boys primary school in Ballarat where another Ararat inmate, Christian Brother Robert Best, abused some of his more than 30 victims from 1968 to 1973.

"On that basis, I do not consider the broadcast per se will have any material impact on the levels of publicity and your [Pell's] experience in custody, over and above the publication of my written sentencing remarks".

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

Vanessa Coleman

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