April 30, 2018
By ROD McGUIRK
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis will return to an Australian court on Tuesday to learn whether he must stand trial on charges that he sexually abused multiple victims decades ago.
Magistrate Belinda Wallington will rule in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on whether the prosecution’s case against Australian Cardinal George Pell is strong enough to warrant a trial by jury.
Lawyers for Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic argued during a four-week preliminary hearing in March that the accusations were untrue and should be dismissed. Pell has said through his lawyers that he will plead not guilty if the magistrate decides against dismissing the charges.
Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, was charged last June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the 76-year-old have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning the crimes allegedly occurred decades ago.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.