News

Law & the Courts

Cardinal George Pell Sentenced to Six Years for Abusing Choir Boys

Cardinal George Pell arrives at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, February 26, 2019. (AAP Image/Erik Anderson/Reuters)

Cardinal George Pell, the highest ranking Vatican official ever criminally prosecuted for sexual abuse, was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for molesting two choir boys in Australia in the late 1990’s.

Pell, who formerly served as a senior adviser to Pope Francis, was found guilty in December on one count of sexual penetration of a child and four counts of committing an indecent act with a child following a five-week trial, which was shielded from public view by a government mandated gag-order. His sentencing Tuesday, however, was broadcast live to the nation from Victoria’s County Court in Melbourne.

The presiding judge, Peter Kidd, dismissed the defense’s argument that the cardinal was not in his right mind when he committed the assault, citing the sermon he delivered immediately before he molested two choir boys he found drinking alter wine in the sacristy. While handing down the sentence, Kidd also made clear that the ruling did not reflect any animus against the Catholic Church for its failure to respond to systemic sexual abuse within its ranks.

“The Catholic Church is not on trial and I’m not imposing a sentence on the Catholic Church. I’m imposing a sentence on Cardinal Pell for what he did,” Kidd said.

The names of the victims have not been revealed, but one of them died by heroin overdose several years ago, while the other reported his abuse in 2015.

The Vatican is now conducting an internal investigation into Pell’s conduct that may result in his defrocking, a permanent punishment that is reserved for the gravest abuses and can only be handed down by the pope.

Some support for Pell remains within Australia. His defense relied on character references provided by ten high-profile friends, including former Prime Minister John Howard who wrote that Pell, his friend of 30-years, was and remains, a man of “high intelligence and exemplary character.”

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Popular

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More

Hunter Biden on Tape?

In a newly released recording, a man purported to be Hunter Biden is heard rambling about (a) his legal representation of Patrick Ho, a convicted former Hong Kong official he refers to as “the f***ing spy chief of China”; (b) his business dealings with Ye Jianming, the corrupt Chinese high roller, whom Hunter ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More