Cardinal Pell ordered to stand trial on abuse charges

Despite his continued denial of any wrongdoing, an Australian court has ordered Cardinal George Pell to stand trial on multiple charges of sexually abusing minors.  Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed some of the pending charges, but announced that she believed there is sufficient evidence in half of the original charges to proceed to a full trial.  Her ruling was handed down following a pre-trial hearing.  A trial date is pending, but expected to be issued shortly.

Cardinal Pell is the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis.  Pope Francis appointed him to head the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy in 2014. The Pontiff granted Pell a leave of absence last summer to face the Australian charges and prepare a defense.  Prior to leaving Rome en route to Australia, Cardinal Pell protested his innocence of the sex abuse charges spanning several decades stating:  “I’m innocent of these charges.  They are false.  The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”

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