The most senior member of the Catholic Church to be found guilty of child abuse has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Former Vatican treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, was sentenced to six years in jail in March for a string of sexual assaults on teenagers.

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He was ordered to serve a minimum of three years and eight months before being eligible for parole.

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On Wednesday a Victoria state appeals court ruled 2-1 to uphold Pell’s convictions. His lawyers have said they will appeal to the high court, his last chance to overturn his conviction.

Cardinal Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing 13-year-old choir boys 22 years ago in the priests’ sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, where he was archbishop at the time.

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He was convicted of abusing two boys whom he had caught drinking sacramental wine in a rear room of the cathedral in late 1996, as hundreds of worshippers were streaming out of Sunday services.

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He was also found guilty of assaulting one of the boys in a corridor more than a month later.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Cardinal George Pell will be stripped of his Order of Australia honour.

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