"Cardinal George Pell in 2012" by Kerry Myers is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cardinal George Pell of Australia Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Mar 13, 2019

By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave

MELBOURNE, Australia — George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday, for molesting two boys after Sunday Mass in 1996.

The cardinal was convicted on five counts in December, making him the most senior Catholic official — and the first bishop — to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

Cardinal Pell, who stood stone-faced with lips pursed when his sentence was read aloud, will not be eligible for parole for three years and eight months.

“I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave,” the chief judge in the case, Peter Kidd, said during the sentencing. Speaking directly to Cardinal Pell, he added: “Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.”

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6 comments on “Cardinal George Pell of Australia Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

  • I see in the traditions of Catholic cover-up, and after hiding in the Vatican for a while to dodge the investigations, he seems rather unrepentant, and seeking an appeal against his conviction and six year sentence, which was imposed when a jury unanimously convicted him.

    At least this time he is travelling from jail by prison van, so is not in position to try to claim to be excused attendance due to supposed ill health!  It seems he no longer needs a walking stick to move around!


    An Australian court has begun hearing Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for child sexual abuse.

    Pell was transported from prison to the court in a van, wearing a black suit and his clerical collar.

    If the judges agree to allow an appeal, he could have a re-trial.


      Report abuse

  • The Judge, Peter Kidd, seemed to me to be very competent.  His sentencing memorandum which he read at the hearing, was well reasoned, to say the least.  Unless Judge Kidd allowed improper evidence to be admitted during trial, or committed some other legal error during the trial, I’d be surprised if Pell’s appeal is granted.  I don’t know anything about the Australian legal system, but I suspect that the appeals judges are reluctant to second guess a trial judge absent real error.  Just because an appellant doesn’t like the result, that’s not grounds to overturn a verdict or sentence.  In the US, convicted people exercise their right to appeal but the results seldom change.  See https://www.uscourts.gov/news/2016/12/20/just-facts-us-courts-appeals “Fewer than 9 percent of total appeals resulted in reversals of lower court decisions in 2015. Appeals of decisions in U.S. civil cases and prisoner petition appeals had the lowest rates of reversals” 
    So, good luck to His Eminence! My guess is that he will be the guest of the people of Australia for the next six years, minus the time that has already elapsed, and whatever time off for good behavior he’s allowed.  Thereafter, he can begin his life as a registered sex offender.  I wonder if any, or all, of the Cardinal’s victims can sue him, as well as holy mother the church, for monetary damages?

  • Michael 100 says:

    My guess is that he will be the guest of the people of Australia for the next six years, minus the time that has already elapsed, and whatever time off for good behavior he’s allowed.

    He’s  77 and launching an attempt at an appeal does not sound like repentance, accepting responsibility, or good behaviour! Report abuse

  • I see that having failed to take responsibility for his actions, hidden in the Vatican retaining the senior post of treasurer,  and having fought the prosecutors all the way to an appeal, he has now lost his appeal against his convictions!


    Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, has failed in a legal bid to quash his convictions in Australia.

    The former Vatican treasurer, 78, will now consider a final appeal in the nation’s highest court.

    In the mean time, perhaps he will continue preaching “repentance” to other Catholics!

    At 78, perhaps he and the Vatican,  can just drag out legal proceedings for a few more years until he dies of old age rather than  taking up residence in jail?

      Report abuse

  • I see there is another senior Australian cleric who has been convicted of rape!

    A former Anglican Dean of Newcastle in Australia has been jailed for raping a 15-year-old boy in 1991.
    Graeme Lawrence, now 77, is reported to be the second most senior Australian religious figure to be convicted of child sexual abuse, after Catholic Cardinal George Pell.

    Lawrence was Anglican dean in the New South Wales city when he lured the boy to his home and raped him.

    Judge Tim Gartelmann sentenced Lawrence to spend a maximum of eight years in jail, saying he had exploited his position of power to abuse the boy.

    He will be eligible for parole in half of that time.

    Meanwhile on the Catholic child abuse front, an unrepentant  Pell is hoping a court will indulge him in another effort to overturn his  six year conviction for abusing boys! Report abuse

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