George Pell to be sentenced over sex abuse charges teenage boys

Pell who has maintained his innocence and plans to appeal appeared in a Melbourne court after being convicted on five offences including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997

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

"I hope that justice prevails and that Mr George Pell is treated like every other pedophile and sex offender in this state and he is incarcerated for a sentence that is appropriate to the crime that he committed", Sheedy told 3AW radio.

Former Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell faces jail on Wednesday when an Australian court is set to sentence him for sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

Pell went on trial for the offences in December past year and a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts.

The verdict was first made public on February 26 after a court suppression order on the trial, preventing media reporting had been lifted.

The former Vatican number three - who managed church finances and helped elect two popes - was sentenced in a Melbourne court on five counts, including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997.

Kidd made clear that Pell was not being made a "scapegoat" for the Catholic Church's failings and that he was being sentenced only for the crimes convicted by the jury.

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"I think you did give thought or reflection to this offending and only reasonable inference from the brazenness of your reoffending is that you had a degree of confidence that the victims would not complain either immediately", Kidd said during sentencing, which was broadcast throughout Australia live from a Melbourne country court.

A jury unanimously convicted the 77 year-old in December, however the verdict was only made public on Feb 26, when further child sex offense charges against Pell dating back to the 1970s were dropped. "Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal".

Under the terms of the sentencing, Pell must serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months before he is eligible for parole.

The second incident, though less serious in nature, was committed against a boy who had already been abused by Pell, he noted.

"I feel because of his position he should have been sentenced a lot harder", he said.

A large crowd, including abuse victims, advocates and media, waited outside the courtroom for the doors to open this morning.

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"Given the speculation and outpouring of anger and distress over the conviction, the reaction to sentencing will be likely highly emotionally charged and extremely polarizing", said Cathy Kezelman, president of the Blue Knot Foundation, a support group for victims of childhood trauma.

"Self-evidently you have experienced an exceptional career with the Catholic Church". One survivor of the abuse remains alive, the other died of a heroin overdose.

The judge also took pains to note that he was sentencing Pell for the offenses on which the cardinal had been convicted - and not for the sins of the Catholic Church.

Several of Pell's other high-profile friends in Australia have leaped to his defense, questioning the jury's verdict and predicting the cardinal would be exonerated on appeal.

The following article discusses child sexual abuse.

"To offend in such a risky and brazen manner, I infer that, for whatever reason, you were in fact prepared to take on such risks".

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