George Pell Jailed: Australia reacts1:57
Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years behind bars, following the sentence, abuse survivors and Pell supporters reacted to the verdict.
The world has reacted with fury to George Pell’s prison sentence, with angry social media users saying he should have been given more time in jail.
Judge Kidd sentenced Pell to six years imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.
As he concluded his hour-long sentencing, people tuning in expressed their fury with the final verdict.
The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson was among the prominent voices slamming the sentence, questioning the message it sends to survivors of sexual abuse:
What message does this #Pell sentence send to abusers? Or to survivors of sexual abuse who are considering coming forward? A case of the more famous you are, and the longer you can get away with your crimes before you are brought to justice, the lighter your sentence will be?— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) March 13, 2019
Across the internet, many others have shared her sentiment:
6 years jail for #Pell, 3 years 8 months non parole, but all that pales in comparison to the sentence he gave those two young boys— Sophie Walsh (@sophie_walsh9) March 13, 2019
Cardinal Pell to get 6 years. A reminder, victims of child sexual abuse ,live with this for their entire lives. https://t.co/Sw3QEFLQjF— David Campbell (@DavidCampbell73) March 13, 2019
6years (3years and 8months non parole) for Pell... what a joke! He should be getting the rest of this life in jail!— Larissa (@LarissaHayley) March 13, 2019
George Pell eligible for parole after 3 years and 8 months. What a joke. How about the life sentence for the victims he abused? #GeorgePell— Robert Lindsay (@rplindsay1) March 13, 2019
As soon as the sentence was announced, thousands took to the www.3nrs3.cn Facebook page to express how furious they were.
“‘Age taken into consideration’ Pell did not care about his victims age!!!! Not long enough!!! 6 years. Burn in hell Pell!” wrote Jacqueline Anne.
“Justice system is a joke,” remarked JT Tello.
“Apparently child sex abuse is not that serious?!!” wrote Mariam Omran.
The father of the victim who died expressed his disappointment in the short sentencing through his lawyer.
“Today we witnessed history with one of the world’s most senior catholic figures jailed for child sexual offences,” said Shine Lawyers’ National Abuse Law Manager Lisa Flynn.
“Our client is disappointed with the short sentencing and has expressed sadness over what he believes is inadequate for the crime.”
However, she also noted the conviction in itself is “welcome relief for victims of abuse who have been waiting to feel heard”.
“Pell’s sentencing moves that progress forward, even if only a few small steps. I admire the courage of my client to keep fighting on behalf of his deceased son. To him, this battle is not over,” she added.
“Our client is pursuing a civil claim knowing that civil action has the power to disrupt an institution and impact meaningful change to prevent more tragedies from occurring.
“The criminal justice system has only partially satisfied our client’s pursuit for justice today. It’s now on us as his civil litigators to keep pushing for more just outcomes.”
The surviving victim of Pell’s abuse gave a statement through his lawyer, Dr Vivian Waller.
“It is hard for me to allow myself to feel the gravity of this moment: the moment when the sentence is handed down, the moment when justice is done,” Dr Waller read.
“It is hard for me, for the time being, to take comfort in this outcome.
“I appreciate that the court has acknowledged what was inflicted upon me as a child.
“However, there is no rest for me.”
Principal Solicitor Dr Vivian Waller - representing the victims in the Pell case - has read her client's statement following the sentencing of George Pell.— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 13, 2019
'I respect what the judge said. It was meticulous and it was considered.'
MORE: https://t.co/cNQM6eXWyx #Newsday pic.twitter.com/7MAM4Dzlvi
Abuse victim survivor advocate George Helon of Toowoomba, formerly of Ballarat, told www.3nrs3.cn the sentencing was a “joke”, and sends a bad message to survivors of sexual assault.
“Six years with three years and eight months non-parole ... a joke when victims get a life sentence,” he said. “The sentence should have been severe to send a message that no person is above the law. Victims are screwed over yet again.”
Elsewhere, Senator Derryn Hinch expressed his relief that Pell was finally sentenced at all:
After decades of Pell stories in Geelong, Ballarat and Melbourne, I can’t be the only one sitting here today and thinking: They finally got him, Pell is behind bars. And he’s on the register -- banned from going to Rome for life.— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) March 13, 2019
Journalists and TV networks from across the globe, protesters and survivors of sexual abuse were outside Melbourne’s County Court as Judge Peter Kidd handed down his six-year prison sentence.
Social media users similarly expressed their disgust as they listened to the judge’s harrowing description of Pell’s crimes, with some saying the sentencing was so graphic they had to mute the sound at times.
Watching to Pell's sentencing. How the judge can speak his ruling through - repeating the crimes in detail - without puking is beyond me. Have had to turn off the sound at times. #CardinalPell— Margaret Ornsby (@MCMSagency) March 12, 2019
Listening to Pell's sentencing makes me sick to my stomach. What he did was horrendous. The details are making me squirm in disgust.— Sourjyo Das (@FatHairyDude) March 12, 2019
Founder of Victim Group Actions Michael ‘Advocate’ also expressed his outrage to the media.
“It’s absolutely outrageous. Every victim is sentenced to a lifetime of pain and suffering, we get a lifetime sentence. For their outrageous short-term gratification, they destroy us for life,” he told 10 News.
“He gets three years and eight months. I’m a typical victim, I’ve got 41 years to date. My life is just a disaster, every other victim I speak to is a disaster. How much do we have to suffer, how insulted do we have to be, before real justice occurs?”
He also slammed the Judge’s decision to take Pell’s age into account, adding: “You don’t get a discount because you’re elderly, that’s ridiculous.”
Michael later told Sky News: “Pell destroyed young boys’ lives and he gets off with a slap on the hand.”
Last month, on the day Pell was taken into custody ahead of his sentencing, Michael was one of the most vocal members of the crowd, yelling that Pell was a “disgrace” who was going to “burn in hell”.
“We want to see him fry in hell forever. He is solely responsible, in Victoria, for the paedophile damage that has been done and damaged thousands and thousands and thousands of people throughout Victoria,” he told reporters at the time.
“I’m a Catholic. I’m ashamed to be a Catholic. I’m disgraced to be a Catholic today. I have not left the church but I want to see Pell excommunicated.”
During his sentencing, the judge acknowledged that Pell was “one of the most senior figures within the Catholic Church globally” and a “publicly vilified figure” among some sections of the community.
“I am also conscious that I am sentencing at a particular time where in recent years there has been the exposure of child sexual abuse within institutional settings, including within the Catholic Church.”
However, he said he was required to sentence him today in “accordance with the rule of law”.
“As I directed the jury who convicted you in this trail, you are not to be made a scapegoat for any failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church.
“Most importantly, while I must punish you for your offending, like anyone who falls to be sentenced by our courts, you are entitled to the balanced and steady hand of justice.”
George Pell: Six years behind bars3:55
George Pell has been sentenced to six years behind bars. We take a look back at Pell’s history of denial in relation to sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.