Cardinal George Pell, a high ranking official in the Vatican, will stand trial following several allegations of historical child sex abuse. Pell, aged 76, pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him and will stand trial in Melbourne, Australia.
‘Historical Sexual Offences’
As the case is still underway, and due to the strict standards on reporting on court cases in Australia, specifics such as the identities of Pell’s accusers have not been made public. The details that have been made available explain that Pell’s charges are for historical child sexual abuse, meaning they are likely to have occurred decades ago.
On the accusations, the Vatican released the following statement: “Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place.”
Pell’s key role within the Vatican was effectively that of a treasurer, seeing him in charge of its key finances. In recent years he did work on the Vatican finance reforms, assisting Pope Francis.
In 2016 Pell was involved in a wider scandal against the Vatican where they were criticized for not doing more to protect victims of abuse. Pell voiced his regret on the organisations failing to do more in the matter. Pell then came under serious fire in the media when he inadequately responded to a case of confirmed abuse in his former Australian diocese, Ballarat.
Since 2016, there has been much controversy and rumour regarding Pell’s alleged involvement in child sexual abuse.
What Happens Now?
The trial is still underway, and is likely to be very lengthy. Pell’s bail conditions state that he cannot leave Australia. The trial started on May 2nd, where the first directions hearing took place. This is a formality where administrative matters of the case are addressed.
Given Pell’s high ranking within the Vatican, it is likely there will be much more press coverage of the case in the coming months.
Have You Been Affected By Abuse?
If you have been affected by sexual child abuse, historical or otherwise, contact a member of our abuse claims team today.
Our expert solicitors have a wealth of experience in abuse cases, and understand the sensitive nature of these claims. Call us today on our freephone number 0800 260 5002 or fill in our online enquiry form.