UPDATED 2019/03/13 2:00PM
Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for the abuse of two choirboys in the late 1990s. He is the most senior Vatican official to be convicted of sex abuse to date. Until last month Pell held a role considered by many to be the third most senior position within the Roman Catholic church as the Vatican treasurer. 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 five-week trial that occured in secret.
According to testimony, in the late 1990s, Pell caught two choirboys drinking communion wine and one by one forced them to engage in sexual acts with him. The boys did not come forward about what happened until 2015. His statement to Victoria Police led to an investigation and a number of other historical sex abuse charges to be filed against Pell.
Chief Judge Peter Kidd handed down the verdict on Wednesday, March 13th in a hearing that was broadcast live worldwide from Melbourne, Australia. He said that Pell’s attack was “breathtakingly arrogant” and said that the cardinal carried out his sexual assault with “callous indifference to the victims’ distress.”
The surviving victim of the abuse said it was difficult to “take comfort in this outcome.” In a statement given through his lawyer, he said that, though he is “doing [his] best to hold [himself] and [his] family together” there is also “no rest for [him.]”