DISGRACED Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in jail, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months, for the sexual abuse of two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1990s.
He can apply for parole in October 2022.
The court heard Pell committed a "brazen and forceful" sexual assault on his two teenage victims, which had an added level of humiliation as each was abused in front of the other.
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 was found guilty of orally raping a 13-year-old choirboy and molesting another at St Patrick's Cathedral after a Sunday mass.
Judge Kidd said the first episode, in the priest's sacristy involved a "brazen and forceful sexual attack on the two victims".
The courtroom was packed with abuse survivors who have their own interest in the result, beyond that of Pell's surviving victim, now aged in his 30s.
He was orally raped by Pell in the priest's sacristy after a Sunday mass in December 1996, forced to watch as Pell molested his 13-year-old friend, and then molested again by Pell a month later.
The other boy died in 2014.
"The acts were sexually graphic. Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending," Judge Kidd said.
"The obvious distress and objections of your victims is relevant to my assessment of the impact of your offending on (the victims).
"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."
The second episode was "brief and spontaneous" but could not be viewed as an "isolated lapse" as Pell had ample time to reflect on his previous abuse of one of the boys, the judge said.
"Despite this, you still indecently acted against (the boy), and did so with what I consider to be a degree of physical aggression and venom," Judge Kidd said.
"It was by no means a minor indecent act."
Judge Kidd said by his offending in such a "risky and brazen" manner, it was inferred Pell was prepared to take such risks.
"I conclude that your decision to offend was a reasoned, albeit perverted, one, and I reach that conclusion to the criminal standard."
Pell also abused his position by breaching the trust of his victims.
"I find beyond reasonable doubt that, on the specific facts of your case, there was a clear relationship of trust with the victims, and you breached that trust and abused your position to facilitate this offending," the judge said.
Judge Kidd rejected Pell's defence argument the crimes were committed by Pell, the man, not the archbishop.
"Your obvious status as Archbishop cast a powerful shadow over this offending," he said.
"I would characterise these breaches and abuses as grave."
Chief Judge Kidd acknowledged Pell’s sentence would have been lower at the time of offending, but said he needed to take into account the current understandings of the issue of child sex abuse.
He said he must technically have regard of “protection of the community from you”, however he believed Pell did not pose this risk.
Pell will be a “serious sexual offender” for life, Chief Judge Kidd said.
Pell denies all allegations of wrongdoing and has launched an appeal to the convictions.
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Australian Associated Press