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Former Cardinal George Pell, 77, is sentenced to six years in jail for molesting two 13-year-old choirboys - as Australian judge says highest-ranking Catholic ever convicted of abuse 'showed no remorse' for 'breathtakingly arrogant' crimes

County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd has sentenced Cardinal George Pell to six years' jail for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was Catholic archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.  
The man who was once Australia's most powerful Catholic is sitting in the dock dressed in a black shirt and a grey blazer, without a clerical collar.
Pell has spent the past two weeks in custodywaiting to be sentenced for one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act with a child.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
A large crowd, including abuse victims, advocates and media, waited outside the courtroom for the doors to open this morning.
When that happened about 9:30am, they rushed towards the entrance in the hope of getting a seat.
Within seconds every seat was full.
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VIDEO: County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd said the sentence was specific to Pell's crimes (ABC News)

Judge condemns 'witch hunt' mentality

"I am mindful I am sentencing you within a unique context," the chief judge said.
"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.
"Nor are you being sentenced for any failure to prevent or report child sexual abuse by other clergy within the Catholic Church.
"You have not been charged with or convicted of any such failings."
In one part of his more than 30-minute sentence, Chief Justice Kidd condemned a "lynch mob" mentality against Pell:
In sentencing you today Cardinal Pell, I am not sitting in judgement of the Catholic religion or the Catholic Church.
It is George Pell who falls to be sentenced.
We have witnessed outside of this court and within our community examples of a witch hunt [or] lynch mob mentality in relation to you, Cardinal Pell.
I utterly condemn such behaviour, that has nothing to do with justice of civilised society. The courts stand as a bulwark against such irresponsible behaviour.
To other victims of clerical or institutional sexual abuse, who may be present in court today or watching or listening elsewhere, this sentence is not and cannot be a vindication of your trauma.
Cardinal Pell has not been convicted of any wrongs convicted against you.
Cardinal Pell does not fall to be punished for any such wrongs.
I recognise that you seek justice, but it can only be justice if it is done in accordance to law.
For me to punish Cardinal Pell for the wrongs committed against you would be contrary to the rule of law and it would not be justice at all.
Pell, 77, was found guilty by a jury last December of sexually abusing the choirboys after a Sunday massin December 1996 and then assaulting one of them a second time two months later.
The first attack occurred just two months after Pell had announced the Melbourne Response, a scheme to deal with sexual abuse claims against clergy.
The trial had been suppressed to avoid potentially influencing jurors in a planned second trial involving a separate set of charges. But that case was dropped last month, paving the way for the suppression order to be lifted.
The chief judge said Pell's abuse had had a "significant and long lasting impact" on the wellbeing of one of his victims, whom he referred to as J.
"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."
"I take into account he profound impact your offending has had on J's life."
The chief judge said he did not have the benefit of a victim impact statement from his other victim, referred to as R, who died of a heroin overdose in 2014 and never reported the abuse.
"However on the basis of J's account at trial I am able to say your offending must have had an immediate and significant impact on R," Chief Judge Kidd said.
"Whilst it is not possible for me to quantify the harm caused, or articulate precisely how it impacted on R in the long run, I have no doubt that it did in some way."
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VIDEO: Abuse of two choirboys was a "grave" breach of trust, chief judge says (ABC News)

Pell's crimes committed at cathedral

The court heard that Pell abused the choirboys, who cannot be identified, after celebrating one of his first Sunday masses as archbishop at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne.
He caught them drinking altar wine in the priest's sacristy, which was off limits to the choir.
One of the former choirboys gave evidence Pell had planted himself in the doorway and said something like "what are you doing here?" or "you're in trouble".
The then-archbishop moved his robes to expose his penis and forced one of the boys' heads down towards it.
The trial heard one of the choirboys asked: "Can you let us go? We didn't do anything."
But instead Pell moved onto the other choirboy. He pushed the boy's head down to his crotch and orally raped him.
After a few minutes, Pell ordered the boy to remove his pants and then molested him as he masturbated.
Pell abused that boy a second time two months later, after another Sunday mass when he pushed him up against the wall of a corridor in the back of the cathedral and groped him briefly.
Evidence of the abuse came from that former choirboy alone, who was the victim of two assaults.
In sentencing, the chief judge described the abuse in the sacristy as "a brazen and forcible sexual attack on the victims".
"The acts were sexually graphic, both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during the offending," he said.
"There is an added layer of degradation and humiliation that each of your victims must have felt in knowing that their abuse had been witnessed by the other."

After the suppression order was lifted, Pell's surviving victim said he had experienced shame, loneliness and depression.
"Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact on my life," he said.
"At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust."
Pell continues to deny he sexually abused the boys.
He is appealing against his conviction on three grounds including that the jury verdict was unreasonable.
The Court of Appeal will hear the appeal over two days in June.

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