Cardinal Pell was found guilty by a jury in December of sexually abusing two underage choristers when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the '90s. Sentencing him on Wednesday, Judge Peter Kidd noted that the abuses committed by Cardinal George Pell had "a significant and long-lasting impact" on one of the victims.
Pell has always professed his innocence and his lawyers have appealed the conviction which will be heard on 5 and 6 June. Judge Kidd permitted the sentencing, which lasted over half an hour, to be broadcast live, in what officials have called a commitment to "open justice".
The Cardinal, who is 77, had risked up to fifty years in prison, ten for each of the five counts, according to Australian law. After handing down the sentence, the cardinal returned to the maximum security prison in Melbourne where he is being held in solitary confinement as is usual for those found guilty of abuse.
Following the conviction of Cardinal Pell, the Holy See announced the opening of its own canonical investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.