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Australia’s anti-equal marriage cardinal jailed for six years

Australia’s anti-equal marriage cardinal jailed for six years

George Pell arrives for sentencing in Melbourne (Photo: Twitter)

A judge on Wednesday (13 March) sentenced Australian cardinal George Pell to six years in prison for the ‘callous’ abuse of two choirboys.

Judge Kidd said Pell’s attack on the victims was ‘breathtakingly arrogant’.

He said the cardinal had assaulted the boys with ‘callous indifference to the victims’ distress.’

He is the most senior Vatican official to be convicted of sex abuse to date.

Pell did not react to the sentencing. He signed the sex offenders register.

In December, a jury in Melbourne found Pell guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996.

However, legal restrictions imposed on the media stopped much of the world’s press from naming him.

One of Pell’s victims has since killed himself. But, the surviving victim said it was hard for him ‘to take comfort’ in the sentencing, according to CNN.’

‘There is no rest for me,’ he said through his lawyer, Vivian Waller. ‘I’m doing my best to hold myself and my family together.’

Pell denied the charges.

George Pell

Up until his arrest and trial, he was the Roman Catholic Church’s most senior figure within Australia.

He also had a leading role as the Vatican’s treasurer.

The church suspended him as cardinal in June 2017 and removed him from office in December 2018.

Pell faced two trials last year. The first jury failed to reach a verdict.

A second jury found him guilty on one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.

George Pell became Cardinal of Australia in 2014. He spoke out frequently against LGBTI rights and same-sex marriage.

The Australian public voted to approve same-sex marriage legislation in a hugely divisive public vote in 2017.

Pell was one of the leading figures to oppose the legislation.

In 2015, he also criticized Ireland’s vote for marriage equality.  What’s more, he spoke out against the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

As an Archbishop in 2012, in submissions to the Australian Senate on the issue of marriage equality, Pell wrote that opposite-sex marriage was sacrosanct.

He said homosexual couples may have ‘genuine caring, affection and commitment’ but could not create children.