Cardinal George Pell's actions had a "profound impact" on the life of the boy who survived his abuse, the judge said

Melbourne (AFP) - The sentencing of disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell for child sex crimes began in Melbourne Wednesday, with the judge warning that the cleric was on trial and not the Catholic Church.

Pell is “entitled to the balanced and steady hand of justice”, Chief Judge Peter Kidd told the court, lamenting a “lynch mob mentality” among some of the public. “You are not to be made a scapegoat,” he said.

“I am not sitting in judgment of the Catholic Church,” Kidd said, vowing to deal with only the facts of the case. Pell faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in jail for abusing two boys in 1996 and 1997.

Going through the crimes in graphic detail, Kidd said that Pell’s actions had a “profound impact” on the life of the boy who survived his abuse and likely had a similar impact on a boy who later died of a heroin overdose. Assaulting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral with both present likely caused additional “degradation and humiliation”.

He accused Pell of “callous indifference” to the suffering of the boys, who have not been named.