Australian Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday after being convicted in December on five counts of sexually abusing children.
According to the New York Times, Pell – who was the chief financial officer for the Vatican and an adviser to Pope Francis – was accused of sexually abusing two minors in 1996, and after two years of legal proceedings, the 77-year-old was sentenced to six years in prison without parole eligibility for three years and eight months.
According to NBC News, Pell was found guilty of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys after he found them hiding out in a rear room at Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral sipping wine. Pell was also found guilty by the jury of assaulting one of the boys again about a months later in a corridor.
The New York Times reports that Pell stood emotionless before the judge on Wednesday as chief judge on the case Peter Kidd read out the Cardinal’s sentence.
Kidd said to Pell, “I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave… Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.”
The main plaintiff on the case, unnamed in compliance with Australian laws which protect sex abuse victims’ identities, said in a statement that he was happy to see the court acknowledge his suffering, but noted that the battle against Pell is not over yet.
The victim’s lawyer Vivian Waller read his statement to the press which read, “It is hard for me, for the time being, to take comfort in this outcome.” He continued, “I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child. However, there is no rest for me.”
According to NPR, Pell has maintained his innocence and his lawyers have filed an appeal on the court’s decision. The appeal is set to be heard on June 5.
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