The former third highest-ranking official in the Catholic Church is now the newest inmate in the Melbourne Assessment Prison. Cardinal George Pell, who has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two children, will spend his first night behind bars Wednesday after being remanded into custody pending sentencing, reports Reuters. The 77-year-old will be sentenced March 13 on five counts relating to the abuse of the 13-year-old choirboys in the late 1990s. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and few believe the former Vatican treasurer will be able to evade a prison sentence.
Pell's lawyers provided 10 character references, one of them from former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, but Judge Peter Kidd was unmoved, Australia's ABC reports. "I see this as callous, brazen, offending," he said. "It did involve a breach of trust and a degree of impunity. How else did he think he was going to get away with it?" To the shock of some of those watching proceedings, lawyer Robert Richter argued for leniency on the grounds that the offending involved "no more than a plain vanilla" charge of sexually penetrating a child. "Goodbye, you creep," shouted one woman as Pell, still wearing his clerical collar, was taken into custody. (Read more Cardinal George Pell stories.)