March 23, 2019
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Pell's victim says he cannot take comfort in cardinal's sentencing

Sydney, Australia, 13 Mar (efe-epa).- A victim of Australian cardinal George Pell, who was sentenced to prison for child sexual abuse on Wednesday, said it is difficult to feel comforted by the outcome.

Pell, 77, was given six years in jail and a non-parole period of three years and eight months. He is also required to register as a sex offender for life.

Each of the five charges – one of sexual penetration of a minor under the age of 16 and four of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 – carried a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The victim, known as "J,” was one of two 13-year-old choirboys abused by Pell after he officiated a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dec. 1996.

Weeks later, “J” - who was on a scholarship at the prestigious St. Kevin's College along with the other victim known as "R" - was sexually assaulted in the same place by the then archbishop of Melbourne.

"It is hard for me to allow myself to feel the gravity of this moment, the moment when the sentence is handed down. The moment when justice is done. It is hard for me, for the time being, to take comfort in this outcome," "J" said in a statement through his lawyer.

"I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child, however there is no rest for me," the 35-year-old added.

The victim stressed that "everything is overshadowed" by the appeal that Pell - the Vatican’s former number three and the most senior member of the Catholic Church to be jailed for such a crime - filed against the verdict and will be decided on in June.

The father of the second victim - who died aged 31 of a heroin overdose in 2014 - was "disappointed with the short sentencing and has expressed sadness over what he believes is inadequate for the crime,” according to his lawyer.

At the sentencing, Judge Peter Kidd said Pell acted with "staggering arrogance" and “continued to offend with callous indifference to the victims’ distress” as well as pointing out a breach of trust and abuse of power.

“At some point during this episode, you even told your victims to be quiet because they were crying,” Judge Kidd said.

“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,” he added.

In December a jury convicted Pell on the five counts, but the ruling was not made public until Feb. 26 when a suppression order was lifted.

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