Watch the moment Cardinal Pell gets heckled outside court in the video below.
Video credit: Nine News Australia
Cardinal George Pell is finally behind bars after the disgraced churchman was convicted of molesting 2 choirboys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne.
Pell, who was once regarded as a pope in waiting, was 3rd in command of the Catholic Church. The 77-year-old was convicted in December 2018 of ‘utterly brazen’ sex attacks against two young boys in 1996.
The priest has appealed his conviction but will have to spend some nights in jail until he gets bail.
During his pre-sentencing hearing at County Court of Victoria, Melbourne, prosecutor Mark Gibson said Pell should be jailed immediately.
‘As we know, five or six minutes of abuse can last a lifetime,’ Gibson said.
The cardinal, who has remained extremely staunch throughout his pre-sentence hearing, will be placed in isolation in a protective lockdown because he will be ‘extremely vulnerable’ in jail, according to his lawyer Robert Richter QC.
Richter said the cardinal will be vulnerable ‘not just as a convicted child sex offender’ but because he ‘has also been portrayed in the media and everywhere else as the incarnation of evil in the Catholic Church.’
During the pre-sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor said Pell is a child sex offender and should be jailed for his ‘humiliating and degrading’ attack on ‘vulnerable children’.
‘In his mind, he thought he could get away with it… he possessed a notion of impunity.’
Chief Judge Peter Kidd asked the prosecutor what Pell was thinking during the time he attacked the 2 boys.
‘What I want to address is what he was thinking at the time, what motivated him and why he did this in such brazen circumstances,’ Kidd told Gibson.
The prosecutor replied: ‘He at least thought he was going to get away with it,’ adding how Pell was in a position of power due to his status as Archbishop of Melbourne at the time.
‘There’s a degree of callousness… there has been a breach of trust,’ he said. ‘There’s an unlikelihood of him being questioned because of his position of power.’
Gibson said Pell should not be given any discount on his sentence as he was a remorseless sex offender.
‘The prisoner has shown no remorse or insight into his offending. He has not taken responsibility for his actions. There remains no explanation,’ he said.
In defense of the cardinal, Richter cited character references from several high profile people including Australia’s former Prime Minister John Howard.
‘These people love him; none of them believe he is capable of these offenses,’ Richter said, adding how these people acknowledged Pell’s ‘kindness and generosity’, and his ‘life devoted to service’.
‘He relates to everyone from a prime minister to street beggars,’ Richter said of Pell. ‘He is a person of the highest character, putting aside the convictions that were recorded.’
Richter further added that Pell’s attacks were spur of the moment and that he was a man of the ‘highest character’.
‘This is no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case where a child is not volunteering or actively participating,’ he said.
Judge Kidd, however, disagreed and hit back, calling the cardinal’s crimes to be brazen and callous.
‘He engaged in some shocking conduct toward two boys,’ Kidd said. ‘At the moment, I see this as callous, brazen offending. Blatant.’
When asked why the priest committed the heinous acts, Richter said: ‘The cardinal’s position is that he is innocent. I’m not in a position to say why he did something he says he didn’t do.’
The judge disagreed that the attacks were a spur of the moment.
‘People don’t go and do what he did without thinking about it… people make choices,’ Kidd said, before adding: ‘How did he think he was going to get away with it…
‘There was an element of brutality to this assault. It was an attack.’
Pell was brought to the court amid chants of ‘maggot’, ‘monster’, ‘you are filth’, ‘you are the devil’, ‘go to hell’ from angry protestors.
Pell’s defense attorney was also the target of humiliation and abuse as he left the County Court of Victoria.
Judge Kidd, however, severely warned people against abusing Richter, saying: ‘An assault on Mr Richter is an assault on the court.’
In December last year, a jury found Pell to be guilty of molesting a 13-year-old choirboy and raping another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne in 1996.
Pell was the newly appointed Archbishop of Melbourne at the time and the two 13-year-old boys were attending St Kevin’s College on scholarships.
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