Australian cardinal sentenced to 6 years for sex abuse

Australian cardinal sentenced to 6 years for sex abuse
Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 26, 2019.

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Vatican official to be convicted of sex abuse, has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The former chief financial officer at the Vatican and an adviser to Pope Francis was sentenced for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral more than 20 years ago.

Pell, 77, was convicted in December of 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 assaults happened just months after Pell became archbishop of Melbourne. A court had suppressed the news of his conviction because there was a second case pending against Pell. That case has since been withdrawn.

Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd on Wednesday said Pell’s attack on the victims was “breathtakingly arrogant” adding that the cardinal had assaulted the boys with “callous indifference to the victims’ distress.”

Pell and his legal team plan to appeal.

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