MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell will spend his first night behind bars on Wednesday after he was remanded into custody pending sentencing for sexually abusing two choir boys in Australia two decades ago.
Pell, a former top adviser to Pope Francis and the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted for child sex offences, was found guilty in December of five charges related to the abuse of the 13-year-old boys while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
Pell - Verdict - Australia - Tuesday - Court
Pell’s guilty verdict was revealed in Australia on Tuesday after a court suppression order was dropped.
The 77-year-old Pell was back in court on Wednesday for his sentence plea hearing, where his bail was revoked and he was taken into custody ahead of his final sentence being determined.
Pell - March
Pell will be sentenced on March 13.
Each of the five offences of which Pell was found guilty carries a maximum 10 years imprisonment, and the judge outlined they were serious charges.
Warrants - Imprisonment - Prosecutor - Mark - Gibson
“This offending warrants immediate imprisonment,” prosecutor Mark Gibson told a packed courtroom, which was crowded to overflowing with journalists, lawyers and members of the public. “It involved two vulnerable boys.”
Two victim impact statements were tendered in the hearing; one from the victim who testified in Pell’s trial and one from the father of the other victim who died in 2014, but they were not made public.
Lawyers - Pell - Sentence - Judge - Peter
Lawyers representing Pell argued for a lenient sentence, presenting Judge Peter Kidd with 10 character references, including one from former prime minister John Howard.
“None of them believe he is capable of this,” Robert Richter, a lawyer representing...
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