MELBOURNE,. The former choirboy molested by Australian Cardinal George Pell said today it was “hard to take comfort” from the Vatican official’s sentence of six years in prison for the crime.
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.
Chief Justice Peter Kidd told the court 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.
“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.”
Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric ever found guilty of child sex crimes, has already lodged his leave to appeal the guilty verdict, with the hearings in the Court of Appeal scheduled to be heard on June 5-6.
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 sentencing and has expressed sadness over what he believes is inadequate for the crime,” Lisa Flynn of Shine Lawyers said in a statement.
“I admire the courage of my client to keep fighting on behalf of his deceased son. To him, this battle is not over.”
Cathy Kezelman, the president of child abuse victims support group Blue Knot Foundation, said while the sentence was “significant”, “it is not as much as what we would’ve hoped”.
“We must remember that victims are sentenced for life. He was not.” — AFP