People across the world will watch today as Cardinal George Pell is sentenced following his conviction for sexual abuse of two choirboys in the 1990s. Source: The Age.
Victoria’s County Court has allowed a camera crew to film chief judge Peter Kidd deliver the sentence, from 10am, so it can be broadcast live on television, radio and news websites. The crew cannot film Cardinal Pell nor anyone else in the room.
Cardinal Pell was last year found guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne after a Sunday Mass in December 1996. He was also found guilty of sexually assaulting one of the boys, again in the cathedral after Sunday mass, early the following year.
The 77-year-old cardinal has been in custody awaiting sentence since a February 27 hearing.
Each of the five charges carries a maximum jail term of 10 years but the penalties on the five charges will mostly be served concurrently.
According to Sentencing Advisory Council statistics from 2011 to 2016, 53 per cent of people guilty of sexual penetration of a child under 16 in Victoria are jailed, while prison terms were imposed on 77 per cent of those guilty of committing an indecent act.
More than 60 per cent of those sent to prison for sexual penetration are jailed for between two and four years, while 80 per cent of those jailed for indecent act offences are sentenced to terms of less than two years.
The County Court’s largest court room will be filled with abuse survivors and advocates, Cardinal Pell’s supporters and media.
Cardinal Pell maintains he is innocent and has appealed against his convictions. The Court of Appeal will hear his challenge on June 5 and has the power to quash convictions and order that the allegations go back for retrial. If that occurs, it would be up to prosecutors to decide whether to continue.
Cardinal Pell was found guilty at retrial in December, after an earlier jury was discharged without reaching a verdict.
George Pell sentencing: The Red Baron, Fat Tony and the judge (The Australian)