Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in jail for sexually abusing two teenage boys in 1996.
County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd considered a range of aggravating and mitigating factors in determining George Pell's prison sentence.
County Court of Victoria Chief Judge Peter Kidd begins sentencing the "otherwise blameless" George Pell for five sexual abuse offences against two choirboys in the 1990s.
"You are not to be made a scapegoat for any failings or perceived failings of the Catholic Church.
"Nor are you to be sentenced for any failure to prevent or report child sexual abuse by other clergy within the Catholic Church."
Judge Kidd told other survivors that Pell would would not wear the blame for their suffering.
"We have witnessed, outside of this court and within our community, examples of a witch-hunt or a lynch mob mentality in relation to you, Cardinal Pell. I utterly condemn such behaviour. That has nothing to do with justice or a civilised society."
CHARGES, OFFENCES AND VICTIM IMPACT
One count of sexual penetration of a child. Four counts of indecent act with a child.
Pell's first attack on the boys in the priest's sacristy at St Patrick's Cathedral "involved a brazen and forcible sexual attack," Judge Kidd said.
"The acts were sexually graphic. Both victims were visibly and audibly distressed during this offending.
"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 each other."
The second incident, though less serious in nature, was committed against a boy who had already been abused by Pell, he noted.
Statements from the surviving victim, and the father of the second victim, who has since died, were given to Judge Kidd, but not read publicly.
"I take into account the profound impact that your offending has had on (the survivor's) life."
Judge Kidd said the other boy's father felt he had "failed his son".
BACKGROUND AND GOOD CHARACTER
Pell was until late-February the Vatican treasurer and is the most senior member of the Catholic Church to be convicted and jailed for child sexual abuse.
"Self-evidently you have experienced an exceptional career with the Catholic Church. You are clearly an intelligent and hard-working man," Judge Kidd said.
There were 10 character references in support of Pell, including from former prime minister John Howard, which spoke of a compassionate man committed to social justice.
"They speak of a man who dedicated his life to service, in particular to vulnerable members of the community."
The prosecution did not challenge or contradict the references.
AGE AND HEALTH
At 77, Pell is entering the last phase of his life, Judge Kidd said, noting the impact of imprisonment.
Pell will be at least 80 when released.
"I am conscious that a term of imprisonment ... carries with it a real, as distinct from theoretical, possibility that you may not live to be released from prison."
Pell suffers from what Judge Kidd described as "significant enough" health issues, including hypertension, congestive heart failure - he has a pacemaker - and osteoarthritis in both knees.
REHABILITATION AND RISK OF REOFFENDING
Judge Kidd rejected a prosecution argument that Pell continues to pose a limited risk of re-offending because he shows no remorse or insight into the offending, given he maintains his innocence.
Pell's age, his otherwise good character, notoriety and lifelong sex offender registration minimise his risk of re-offending, the judge said.
Pell will also likely limit interaction with children in future to "effectively eliminate any opportunity to offend", he added.
Courts must send an unequivocal message to would-be child sexual offenders, the judge said.
"They must be dissuaded, whether the offending is planned or whether it is the result of a spur of the moment decision."
"The sentence I impose must aim to discourage potential offenders by demonstrating to those offenders the grave consequences of violating such laws."
Six years in prison. Eligible for release on parole after three years and eight months.
"The many factors I have identified in your favour, in particular your old age, your otherwise blameless life and the 22-year delay, must be balanced against the need for the sentence to properly reflect the purposes of general deterrence, denunciation and just punishment."