Australian Cardinal Pell faces abuse sentencing hearing

The most senior Catholic cleric ever convicted of child sex abuse faces his first night in custody following a sentencing hearing for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral two decades ago.

Victoria state County Court jury unanimously convicted Cardinal George Pell in December of abusing two 13-year-olds in a rear room of St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1996.

But unusually, Pell wasn't taken into custody immediately because he had surgery scheduled in Sydney to have both knees replaced.

Pell's sentencing hearing is set for Wednesday.

Pell could face 50 years in prison. His convictions were suppressed by a court order until Tuesday.

Pell's lawyers lodged an appeal and will apply for bail in the Court of Appeal later Wednesday. No date has been set for an appeal hearing.