George Pell sentenced to six years in prison for sexual abuse of minors

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The Melbourne Court has sentenced the former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy to six years imprisonment for sexual abuse of two children in 1996.

George Pell will not be able to apply for parole until three years and eight months have passed. The judge said the cardinal may die before leaving prison due to his health. The judge also added that Pell's sentence will serve to deter future offenders. He has been convicted for four indecent acts and one for sexual violence.

The cardinal says he is innocent and has filed for an appeal. The process to review the case will begin on June 5. This time he will be tried by three judges and not a jury. 

The sentence could change, since the second trial is more rigorous. In the first trial no conclusive evidence has been released that incriminates the cardinal.

The Vatican will not take new measures until there is a final sentence. For now, Pell cannot celebrate Mass in public or pastoral care for minors. 

The Vatican has also begun a canonical process. If he is found guilty for committing abuses, he could be expelled from the College of Cardinals and priesthood. This recently happened with the former Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick.

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