Pell's 6-Year Prison Sentence Criticised By Abuse Survivors And Advocates

Live: Catholic Church Cardinal George Pell sentenced for sexual abuse of children

Live stream: Disgraced Cardinal George Pell sentenced in Melbourne

Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell will be sentenced on Wednesday after his conviction for sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in the 1990s, with the judge expected to impose a prison term on the Catholic Cardinal.

The top Catholic was convicted in December, but the verdict was suppressed from being made public by a court order until February 26, when further child sex offence charges against Pell dating back to the 1970s were dropped.

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. However, there is no rest for me. "I am doing my best to hold myself and my family together", said the victim, who can not be identified under Australian law protecting the identity of sex abuse victims.

Pell sat emotionless and looking visibly thinner through more than an hour-long sentence hearing where the judge noted he would spend a "substantial portion" of his remaining life expectancy behind bars.

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Howard said he was aware of Pell's conviction and pending appeal but that "none of these matters alter my opinion of the Cardinal".

Pell's fate within the church has yet to be decided.

Pell supporters said the public reading - done in the name of "open justice" - was really another confirmation of the ongoing media campaign against the cardinal, according to Vatican News.

Pell is the most senior member of the clergy to be convicted of historical child sex abuse.

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In the sentencing, Kidd described the graphic details of the abuse.

The royal commission was critical of Pell's predecessor in Melbourne, Archbishop Frank Little, who died in 2008. Some figures in Rome, meanwhile, have dismissed the accusations against Pell as "absolutely unbelievable", which smacks of cynicism and arrogance - an attitude that has characterized the Catholic Church for decades. Pell described the allegations at the time as "vile and disgusting conduct" that went against everything he believed in. But prosecutors dropped the second set of charges a fortnight ago. Pedophiles such as Pell are typically separated from the main prison populations in Australia.

The appeal, filed by Pell's barrister Robert Richter QC, said: "There was a fundamental irregularity in the trial process, because the accused was not arraigned in the presence of the jury panel as required". The survivor testified that Pell had walked in on the boys swigging altar wine in a back room after a Sunday Mass. The conviction illustrates just how big of a sexual abuse scandal the church really faces.

Mr Moses said the public had a right to know how a court arrived at its decision, and unless there were exceptional reasons, broadcasting court proceedings should be the rule rather than the exception. The surviving victim, however, said that while he was grateful for the court's official acknowledgement of Pell's abuses, he could not take any comfort from it after the years of shame and depression he endured as a result of the abuse.

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Pell did not seek to silence the children, Kidd said, because he did not feel it was necessary, and his second transgression carried the mark of "physical aggression and venom".

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