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Father Stephen ImbarratoClaire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest who was arrested while ministering to women inside an abortion center in December was found guilty of trespassing and will spend one week in jail.

Father Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life had been participating in the Red Rose Rescue, a campaign to enter abortion facility waiting rooms and distribute red roses while offering women words of encouragement not to abort their babies. He was one of three pro-lifers to enter Steven Brigham’s Capital Women's Services in Washington, D.C., where they were eventually arrested for trespassing on private property.

On Monday, DC Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin found Imbarrato guilty, along with pro-lifers Julia Haag and Joan McKee, according to a press release from Mercy Missions DC. The judge suggested that their punishment would consist of supervised probation and being barred from the abortion facility, conditions that Imbarrato declared he could not abide by.

The priest explained that while he respected authority, he rejected a ruling from a “corrupt and immoral government that sanctions, protects (through its courts), and funds the daily mass murder of thousands of innocent preborn babies.”

“When do the babies get their day in court?” Imbarrato asked. “Today they do! Judge, you will have to send me to jail!” Morin sentenced him to seven days in prison.

“Father is at peace and exactly where God wants him to be. It is an honor to be in chains for Christ,” Mercy Missions DC founder Lauren Handy said. “Visiting those in jail is a Catholic corporal work of mercy and Father has been placed in an unique situation where he can live out his faith daily.”

“Multiple lives were saved that day” of the rescue,” Handy added in a Facebook Live video from outside the prison. “Mom’s chose life instead of abortion.”

Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews in December that he hopes the incident will “motivate more people” to “reflect on what is a minimally proportional response to state-sanctioned mass murder of the unborn.”

“As a Catholic priest who is a great grandpa of a four-month old-baby, a grandfather of four, an adoptive father of a son who committed suicide three years ago, and the father of two babies who died from abortion decades ago, I cherish all life as unique, precious, and unrepeatable from fertilization,” Imbarrato added.

As for the facility where the arrest took place, abortion Steven Brigham is nationally infamous for a long record of misconduct, including botched abortions, defiance of abortion laws, tax evasion, and the death of a patient. His license has been suspended or revoked and his facilities have been shut down in multiple states.

Mercy Missions DC said a prayer vigil began at 9 a.m. Tuesday outside the DC Central Detention Facility where Imbarrato is being held and was to  continue until 9 p.m.