Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer and one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church, will serve up to six years behind bars, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Pell, 77, was sentenced to six years in prison and will be up for parole after three years and eight months after being convicted of sexually abusing two choirboys in the mid-1990s.
Chief Judge Peter Kidd said the sentencing was not “an easy one” and said that Pell’s age played into his decision, declaring a shorter non-parole period “so as to increase the prospect of your living out the last part of your life in the community,” according to the Guardian.
At the same time, though, Kidd called the offenses the result of “breathtaking” and “staggering” “arrogance
Pell will also be a registered sex offender for life.
Pell was convicted in December of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys who had sneaked out of Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in December 1996 to drink sacramental wine. The archbishop was accused of forcing one of the boy’s to perform oral sex on him and molesting the other.
Several months later, he again molested one of the boys again, squeezing his genitals in a cathedral hallway.
One of the boys died a few years ago without ever publicly reporting the assault, but the other told the police in 2015.
Pell had denied all allegations of misconduct.
He was initially supposed to face a second trial and more allegations of sexual abuse, but the prosecutor dropped the case.
The cardinal has already launched an appeal of his sentence, according to the Guardian. It will be heard on June 5.