The cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, George Pell, will face a jury trial of charges of committing crimes of a sexual nature.
Such a verdict was handed down by the magistrate of the Australian city court of Melbourne after a two-month preliminary hearing. Belinda Wallington dropped most of the charges against Pell, but ruled that the cardinal must be tried by the district jury for four of them, relating to the events of the 1970s.
Cardinal Pell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution alleged during the pre-trial hearing that Cardinal Pell’s offences took place at a swimming pool and a cinema in Victoria state, a church and other locations.
Cardinal George Pell, 76, used to be the archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney. In 2014, he moved to the Vatican and became head of the Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Holy See. He is considered Vatican’s third highest official.
In 2016, Australian Royal Commission to investigate the incidence of pedophilia among the Catholic clergy accused Pell of mishandling misconduct cases among clergy members and summoned Pell as a witness to Australia, but he could not come. After that the Australian police arrived in the Vatican itself.
Cardinal categorically rejects all charges of his sexual harassment of children as “absolute lie and part of the campaign to denigrate his name.