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Cardinal George Pell to be sentenced

28 February 2019

He was found guilty in December of five incidents of sexual abuse of choirboys in the 90’s

PA

Cardinal Pell in Melbourne on Tuesday

Cardinal Pell in Melbourne on Tuesday

CARDINAL George Pell was remanded in custody on Wednesday after his bail was revoked.

Cardinal Pell, who is 77, was found guilty in December of five incidents of sexual abuse of choirboys in the 1990s, when he was RC Archbishop of Melbourne (News, 21 December). He denies the allegations and has lodged an appeal.

Sentencing is due to take place on 13 March. Each conviction carries a maximum prison term of ten years.

A suppression order, which had prevented Australian media from reporting the conviction, was lifted by a judge in Victoria, Australia, on Tuesday. This was because other charges of child sexual abuse, dating to the 1970s when he was a priest in Ballarat, in regional Victoria, had been dropped.

At a pre-sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Chief Judge Peter Kidd said that Cardinal Pell’s actions were “callous, brazen offending” and “shocking conduct”.

Cardinal Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, had argued that his crimes should amount to a lower-end sentence. However, Judge Kidd said: “He did have in his mind some sense of impunity. How else did he think he would get away with this? There was an element of force here . . . this is not anywhere near the lower end of offending.”

The Vatican said on Tuesday that Cardinal Pell’s position as its Secretary for the Economy was not renewed when it expired on Sunday. He had held the appointment since 2014. He was Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001, and of Sydney from 2001 to 2014.

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