Disgraced cardinal George Pell jailed for child sex abuse

Disgraced cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to spend a maximum of six years in prison for sexually abusing two choirboys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

Pell, 77, was emotionless when the sentence was handed down on Wednesday.

He must serve at least three years and eight months in prison before being eligible for release on parole. He can apply for parole in October 2022.

Before walking back to the court's cells, flanked by security, Pell signed paperwork to be registered for life as a sex offender.

A jury convicted him in December of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another at St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996 and 1997, finding him guilty of five charges.

County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd handed down his sentence in front of a packed courtroom and a global television audience streaming across the globe.

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

He will be a registered sex offender for life.

Pell denies all allegations of wrongdoing and has launched an appeal to the convictions.

WHAT JUDGE PETER KIDD SAID WHEN SENTENCING PELL

* "The acts were sexually graphic. Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending"

* "You were confident your victims would not complain. It is fanciful to suggest that you may not have fully appreciated this"

* "There is an added layer of degradation and humiliation that each of your victims must have felt in knowing that their abuse had been witnessed by the other"

" You had had ample time to reflect upon your previous abuse .... despite this, you still indecently acted against (victim J), and did so with what I consider to be a degree of physical aggression and venom"

* I consider your moral culpability across both episodes to be high"

* "There was a clear relationship of trust with the victims, and you breached that trust and abused your position to facilitate this offending"

* "Your obvious status as Archbishop cast a powerful shadow over this offending"

* "I would characterise these breaches and abuses as grave"

* "You continued to offend with callous indifference to the victim's distress"

* "Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance"

* "There is no evidence of your remorse or contrition for me to act upon to reduce your sentence"

* "On the one hand I must punish and denounce you for this appalling offending. Yet on the other hand, I am conscious of the heavy reality that I am about to sentence you, a man of advanced years, who has led an otherwise blameless life, to a significant period of imprisonment, which will account for a good portion of the balance of your life"

AAP

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