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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13 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!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-48507583

    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.

     

     


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  • 3
    Michael 100 says:

    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!


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  • 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!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-49416573

    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?

     


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

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-50077792
    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!


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  • I see that Pell is as unrepentant as ever, and is still in denial of his responsibilities for these crimes against children!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cldy1zl6znkt/cardinal-pell-sex-abuse-case
    Cardinal George Pell will be allowed a final chance to challenge his child sexual abuse convictions, Australia’s top court has ruled.
    Pell was granted leave to appeal the verdict in the High Court of Australia.

    The ex-Vatican treasurer, 78, is currently serving a six-year jail term for abusing two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

    Pell unsuccessfully challenged the verdict in Victoria’s Court of Appeal in August, when a panel of three judges ruled against him 2-1.

     


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  • Alan #7

    Everyone has the right to appeal.

    David Allen Green – lawyer, atheist, secularist, certainly no friend of either Pell or the RC church in general  – has tweeted that he also has doubts about the safety of the conviction. Which doesn’t necessarily mean it was wrong, of course, just that it’s perhaps not as clear-cut as we might imagine.

    It will be interesting to see how the High Court rules. If it does overturn the original verdict, we’ll have to accept Pell was innocent of the charges. And of course, the same in reverse will apply if it upholds it.


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  • Marco says:

    It will be interesting to see how the High Court rules. If it does overturn the original verdict, we’ll have to accept Pell was innocent of the charges.

    Pell has already had one appeal rejected in a lower court.

    I suspect that if he were to reverse this verdict somehow, some of the other cases which are not pursued at present, could well emerge!


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  • Pell has already had one appeal rejected in a lower court.

    I know, Alan. It wouldn’t now be going to the High Court if that weren’t the case. But it’s not unheard of for the High Court to rule that both the original court case and the appeal ruling got it wrong. One of the 3 appeal judges disagreed with the verdict, so there’s clearly some room for doubt.

    I suspect that if he were to reverse this verdict somehow, some of the other cases which are not pursued at present, could well emerge! 

    You may or may not be right. But guilt and innocence are matters to be decided by the justice system, after due process, not by gleeful online speculation by people like us who haven’t had access to all the evidence. We’ll see soon enough.


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  • Marco says:
    You may or may not be right. But guilt and innocence are matters to be decided by the justice system, after due process, not by gleeful online speculation by people like us who haven’t had access to all the evidence.

    I don’t know much about the Australian public prosecution service, but it is likely to be modelled on the UK one.

    Which cases are pursued, by prosecutors can involve political aspects, strategies, budgeting,  and levels of staffing, staff training, competence, etc. – according to my daughter who is a lawyer.
    It is not mere speculation.  Various cases were dropped   to concentrate on making an example the few which have secured convictions.

    One of the 3 appeal judges disagreed with the verdict, so there’s clearly some room for doubt.

    It would be interesting to know if the dissenting judge had any religious affiliations!



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  • Alan #11

    It would be interesting to know if the dissenting judge had any religious affiliations!

    Or perhaps the other two were atheists …

    If the High Court decides he was, after all, innocent of these specific charges, will you accept that? Will you believe it?

    And if he is then accused of other cases, will you keep an open mind until the verdict?

     


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  • I see that Pell is making yet another appeal against his conviction with the court  starting two days of hearings today in front of seven judges.

    Having prevaricated for years, he is now disputing the evidence from the one surviving victim, who the previous Chief Justice described as, ” a compelling witness, clearly not a liar, not a fantasist, and was a witness of truth.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-51811640

    Cardinal George Pell’s final bid to overturn his convictions for child sexual abuse has begun hearings in Australia’s top court.

    In December 2018, a jury unanimously found Pell guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys in private rooms in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Pell was archbishop of Melbourne at the time.

    The convictions included one count of sexual penetration and four counts of committing indecent acts.

    Meanwhile Pell remains in a maximum security prison in Victoria.


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