Government - Pell Gets Six Years In Prison
Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of molesting two young choir boys in 1996. Pell maintains his innocence and is appealing the case.
Once the top Roman Catholic official in Australia, a former Vatican treasurer, and one of Pope Francis' top counselors, Pell is now the highest-ranking church official to be tried, convicted, and sentenced in the church's clergy sex abuse scandal.
The jury found Pell guilty of one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16. In 1996, prosecutors said that Pell told the boys they were in trouble for drinking sacramental wine, and molested them. He later assaulted one of the boys against in 1997. One of the victims testified against him; the other died of a drug overdose in 2014.
"The acts were sexually graphic, both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during the offending," said Judge Kidd. "There is an added layer of degradation and humiliation that each of your victims must have felt in knowing that their abuse had been witnessed by the other."
Pell's appeal will go before the Court of Appeals in June. If the conviction stands, he'll be eligible for parole after serving three years and eight months.