Vatican official to stand trial on abuse charges
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/01/18, 11:01 am
An Australian judge ruled Tuesday that Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s head budget officer, must stand trial for sexual abuse charges. After four weeks of closed preliminary hearings, Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed about half of the charges against Pell but said the remainder had sufficient evidence to present to a jury. Pell’s high-profile career spanned decades in Australia, culminating in a 13-year stint as archbishop of Sydney before his promotion to the Vatican in 2014. Pope Francis allowed Pell a leave of absence last year to return to Australia to defend himself. Prosecutors have not released the details of the accusations against Pell, but he has received public criticism in Australia for mishandling cases of clergy abuse while he oversaw the church in Melbourne and Sydney, the country’s two largest cities. Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged with sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in a Melbourne court.
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