Dressed in an open black shirt, gray jacket and black trousers, Pell blinked but otherwise didn’t react as the judge told him that he would probably spend a substantial portion of the rest of his life in prison.
Pell will be eligible for parole in three years and eight months, and he will be placed on a register of s-xual offenders for the rest of his life.
His five convictions carried a maximum possible penalty of 10 years each. Chief Judge Peter Kidd said Pell’s age – 77, was a major factor in the sentence.
He also took into account Pell’s great power over the two boys, who were required to sing at Pell’s cathedral as part of their scholarship to a private Catholic school, and the prelate’s lack of remorse. Pell pleaded not guilty, did not give evidence at his trial and is appealing the verdict.
“To give out such a light sentence is just insulting to the victims and no deterrence to future pedophiles,” said Michael Advocate, a 52-year-old who said he was abused at his Catholic boarding school in the late 1970s.
Pell’s conviction for fondling one 13-year-old boy and forcing another 13-year-old to perform oral s-x on him at St. Patrick’s, Melbourne’s grandest cathedral, in 1996 shocked Catholics in Australia and worldwide.
Pell behaved with “staggering arrogance” when he caught the boys who had sneaked into a change room after Mass to drink sacramental wine, the judge said. “It was a brazen and forcible s-xual attack upon the two victims,” he said.