Disgraced Cardinal George Pell sentenced in Melbourne

Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne Australia Feb 26

Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne Australia Feb 26

"There is no evidence other than you were a competent and intelligent man".

"I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child".

"You had had ample time to reflect upon your previous abuse.despite this, you still indecently acted against (victim J), and did so with what I consider to be a degree of physical aggression and venom".

The judge also said it was important to acknowledge the "unique context" surrounding the case.

Pell has spent the past two weeks in custody and was brought into the court from the Melbourne Assessment Prison (MAP) via an internal entrance, avoiding rows of cameras set up outside the court in central Melbourne.

Judge Kidd said the second episode was "brief and spontaneous" but could not be viewed as an "isolated lapse" as Pell had ample time to reflect on his previous abuse of one of the boys.

Kidd admonished Pell for exploiting the boys' trust in him as a church official, saying "the brazenness of your conduct is indicative of your sense of power and authority" over the victims. They included one from former Prime Minister John Howard who wrote that Pell, his friend for approximately 30 years, was a person of "high intelligence and exemplary character".

Days later, the Vatican launched an internal investigation into Pell, who remains a cardinal, which can lead to him being defrocked.

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You "may not live to be released from prison" Judge Kidd acknowledged, as he accused the former Vatican number three of "appalling offending" and a "brazen and forceful sexual attack on the two victims".

Pell will be registered as a sex offender for life, he said.

The victim's statement - who is now in his 30s - was not read out but the judge said he had taken into account the "profound impact" it has had on his life.

The other boy died in 2014.

He began the hearing, which was broadcast live, by stating that Pell was "entitled to the balanced and steady hand of justice" and lamenting "lynch mob mentality" among some of the public. The court's associate warned the crowd shortly before the sentence was handed down to listen in complete silence.

Pell, 77, was found guilty of one count of sexual penetration of a child and four counts of committing an indecent act with a child last December after a secret five-week trial.

Kidd said that Pell was well aware of what he was doing when he traumatized two choir boys, describing his behavior as "reasoned albeit perverted one".

The verdict was delivered after a retrial was ordered following an earlier jury's inability to reach a decision in September, 2018. A court order had suppressed media reporting the news until last month.

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