Cardinal George Pell sentencing to be watched across the world

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While some people think Pell's sentencing was light, Chief Judge Kidd made sure the Cardinal knew the brevity of his crimes.

Sentencing Pell on Wednesday, Victorian County Court Judge Peter Kidd labelled the cardinal's moral culpability as high as he outlined his two attacks on the boys over a month apart.

Pell, now 77, but 55 at the time of the crime, was convicted of forcing the 13-year-old choirboys to perform oral sex on him in the priests' sacristy of St. Patrick's Cathedral, where he was archbishop.

The jury also found Pell guilty of assaulting one of the boys a second time in early 1997 when the archbishop pushed the boy against a corridor wall after Sunday mass and groped him briefly.

Pell, who was until late-February the Vatican's treasurer, is the highest-ranking Catholic in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse.

Judge Kidd rejected a prosecution argument that Pell continues to pose a limited risk of re-offending because he shows no remorse or insight into the offending, given he maintains his innocence.

Senior crown prosecutor Mark Gibson SC foreshadowed in a pre-sentence hearing in February that Pell would likely spend "significant time" in prison.

Before announcing his sentencing, Judge Kidd, who said he had chosen to broadcast the sentencing live, laid out an intricate and thorough examination of his reasonings.

Judge Kidd told other survivors that Pell would would not wear the blame for their suffering. "Everything is overshadowed by the forthcoming appeal", he said in a statement read by his lawyer.

The BBC reports that Pell can apply for parole after three years and eight months.

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Pell was found guilty of five counts of historic child sex crimes.

Almost 100 people lined up outside the doors of the courtroom this morning, including media from around the world and protesters.

Pell also said the Church made "catastrophic" choices by minimizing its response to, and covering up, abuse complaints. One survivor of the abuse remains alive, the other died of a heroin overdose.

"In sentencing you today, I am not sentencing the Catholic Church ... it is George Pell to be sentenced".

The judge said there was a "real" possibility that Pell may not live to be released from prison, and that he had considered the cleric's age and health in sentencing.

Worshipper Darryl D'Souza said Pell's conviction and sentencing was a sad situation for Catholics, but it did not change his belief in God or the church.

"As I directed the jury who convicted you in this trial, you are not to be made a scapegoat for any failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church".

In the decades since, evidence of widespread abuse has emerged globally.

The Cardinal will be placed on the child sexual offender registry for the rest of his life.

In testimony to the commission in March 2016, Pell said that he did not know of the sexual abuse of children in Ballarat by another priest in the 1970s until his conviction in 1993, although the commission had heard testimony from others that the priest's behavior was an open secret in the diocese.