World

Cardinal Pell’s victim says ‘hard to take comfort’ from sentencing

MELBOURNE The former choirboy molested by Australian Cardinal George Pell led the response to his sentencing yesterday, saying it was "hard to take comfort" from his six-year jail term.

Pell was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria after being found guilty of five counts of sexual and indecent assault in the sacristy of a Melbourne cathedral in 1996 and 1997.

"It is hard for me to allow myself to feel the gravity of this moment," the victim, who has not been identified, said through his lawyer Vivian Waller.

"I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child. However, there is no rest for me. Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal."

Chief Justice Peter Kidd told the court that the 77-year-old would be eligible for parole after serving a minimum term of three years and eight months. Pell had faced a possible maximum sentence of 50 years.

"Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance," said Justice Kidd.

"Viewed overall, I consider your moral culpability across both episodes to be high."

Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric ever found guilty of child sex crimes, has already lodged his leave to appeal against the verdict.

The father of the other victim, who died of a drug overdose in 2014, said through his lawyer that Pell's sentence was "disappointing".

"Our client is disappointed with the short sentence and has expressed sadness over what he believes is inadequate for the crime," Ms Lisa Flynn said in a statement.- AFP

WORLD