The most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church child sexual abuse crisis, Cardinal George Pell, has today been ordered to stand trial for sexual offences against children.
Victorian Magistrate Belinda Wallington has found that there is evidence of sufficient weight for Cardinal Pell to stand trial on some charges, but she has dismissed others.
Cardinal Pell denies the accusations.
The ruling has come after a heavily publicised four week committal hearing and is a significant victory for all survivors of child sexual abuse in Australia.
Among the allegations, Cardinal Pell is accused of sexual offending at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1990s when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. His alleged offending happens to coincide with his establishment of the Catholic Church’s heavily criticised Towards Healing protocol.
Cardinal Pell is also accused of committing sexual offences at a Ballarat pool and a cinema in the regional city during the 1970s, when he was a priest in the area.
He will now be required to enter a plea and a trial date will be set.
The victory today shows that offenders, no matter what their perceived status might be, they will be found and the law will hold them to account.
Turn to Turner Freeman
You may be entitled to compensation if you were sexually or physically abused as a child by someone in an organisation, such as a priest, religious brother, school teacher or other worker, or while you were a child in the care of an organisation or government department.