Disgraced cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in prison with a non parole period of three years and eight months for sexually abusing two teenage boys in 1996 and 1997.
Chief Judge Peter Kidd has handed down his sentence on Wednesday in Melbourne's County Court three months after Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral after a Sunday mass.
Chief Judge Peter Kidd said “The offending was breathtakingly arrogant” and said the crimes represented a “grave” breach of trust.
CJ Kidd further described the actions as “brazen and forcible attacks on two victims”, with Cardinal Pell’s “decision to offend reason[ed], albeit perverted”.
Other issues addressed during sentencing included the breach of trust in an institutional setting and the dismissal of any claims that Cardinal Pell’s mental functions were impaired at the time of the offences.
“I consider the moral culpability of your offences high,” CJ Kidd said.
“In my view, it does not even approach low-end offending.
“Each year you spend in custody will represent a substantial portion of your remaining life expectancy.”
Pell, 77, who was until late-February the Vatican's treasurer, is the highest-ranking Catholic to be convicted of child sexual abuse.
He was convicted of one charge of sexually penetrating a child and four of committing indecent acts with a child. Each offence carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence.
The judge said he considered Pell’s health and age when considering the sentence, his likely experience in jail, as well as his perceived risk of reoffending.
He added Pell could not be made a scapegoat for the church's failings, nor for the trauma inflicted on other victims by other abusive priests.
Cardinal Pell will be registered as a sex offender, with a reporting period for life.
If you or anyone you know if affected by today’s proceedings, support is available with LIFELINE on 13 11 14.