Appeals court confirms Cardinal Pell's prison sentence for child abuse

Australian Cardinal George Pell is the highest ranking official within the Vatican to be found guilty of sexual abuse

Australian Cardinal George Pell
Australian Cardinal George Pell

Australian Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis's closest advisors, lost the first appeal to his six-year prison sentence as the accusations of sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys were confirmed on Wednesday morning.

The child abuse was perpetrated by Pell at the beginning of the 1990s at the St Patrick Cathedral in Melbourne — he cornered two boys, then aged 12 and 13 in the sacristy after Sunday mass and forced them to perform a sex act on him. 

The six-year prison sentence remained unchanged at the appeal stage as the court confirmed he would not be delivered from the first court's judgement. Pell appealed the first court's decision in March, insisting on an unjust verdict. He still has a chance to file yet another appeal in the Supreme Court. 

Pell, 78, a former Vatican treasurer, has become the highest ranking official within the Vatican to have been found guilty of sexual abuse.

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