Cardinal George Pell to spend nearly four years in jail for child sexual assault

Chief judge calls Pell’s crimes ‘breathtakingly arrogant’ as he sentences Pell to six years in jail, with non-parole period of three years and eight months

 George Pell sentenced to six years in jail – live updates

Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in jail after being convicted of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996.

The former Vatican treasurer, 77, was handed a non-parole period of three years and eight months by the judge, who described his offending as “brazen and forceful” and “breathtakingly arrogant” because he believed the victims would never complain.

The sentence means he may spend at least three years and eight months in jail.

He is the most senior member of the Catholic Church to be convicted and jailed for child sexual abuse.

Pell was convicted last month on five charges of child sexual assault, following a committal hearing, a mistrial and a trial. He has lodged an appeal, which will be heard in June.

Chief judge Peter Kidd said the sentence carried a real possibility that Pell would not live to be released. “Facing jail at your age in these circumstances must be an awful state of affairs for you,” he said.

Kidd’s sentencing before Melbourne’s county court on Wednesday morning was broadcast live around the world. Once the financial controller of the Vatican and confidant to the pope, Pell sat in the dock dressed in a black shirt and beige jacket, using a walking cane, and stared straight at Kidd, expressionless. Two police officers sat either side of him, and one directly behind.

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