By ROD McGUIRK
May 1, 2018
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, must stand trial on charges alleging he sexually abused multiple victims decades ago, a magistrate ruled Tuesday.
Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed around half the charges that had been heard in the four-week preliminary hearing in Melbourne but decided the prosecution’s case was strong enough for the remainder to warrant a trial by jury. The number of charges has not been made public
When she asked Pell how he pleaded, the cardinal said in a firm voice, “Not guilty.” Wallington gave the 76-year-old permission not to stand, which is customary. …
Anne Barrett Doyle, of BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts-based online abuse resource, described the magistrate’s decision to make Pell stand trial as “a turning point in the global abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.”
“Whatever its outcome, the judge’s decision marks the victory of accountability over impunity, and of the rule of secular law over the Vatican’s failed strategy of cover-up,” she said.
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