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Paedophilia-accused Vatican Cardinal to face witnesses in March

Friday - October 6, 2017 9:24 am , Category : WORLD

Vatican City Oct 6 (IANS) Cardinal George Pell the Vatican s financial chief who has been accused with paedophilia will face an Australian court in March 2018 on charges of historic sexual assault judicial sources said on Friday.



One of the most senior figures in the Vatican Pell appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court earlier on Friday after he was charged by detectives from Victoria Police in June reports CNN.

Cardinal Pell who has stood down from his role in Rome to face court in his home country has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations.

A source from the court confirmed to Efe news that the judicial proceedings against the 76-year-old would begin on March 5 and last about four weeks without elaborating on further details.

About 50 witnesses are expected to testify in the committal hearing session according to local reports.

The number of cases implicating the cardinal has yet to be announced but it is believed that the alleged crimes occurred when he served as a priest in the city of Ballarat (1976-80) and as archbishop of Melbourne (1996-2001).

Pell who was suspended from his duties as Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Economy by Pope Francis so that he could stand trial in Australia has denied the accusations on several occasions.

This is not the first time Pell has been accused of sexual abuse.

In 2002 when Pell was Archbishop of Sydney a man claimed to have been sexually abused by Pell in 1961 when he was 12 years old and the Cardinal was training to be a priest.

The investigations however exonerated Pell who in February gave his testimony during a video-conference to an Australian commission investigating child sexual abuse in public religious and social institutions.

--IANS
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