The Vatican is again in the news as a result of a sex scandal.
Sex allegations are often made against Vatican officials but this would be the first time a high ranking official would be involved.
According to a magistrate court, George Pell, the Vatican treasurer, has been asked to appear before a court in Australia in 2018 after he was arraigned for what police described as “historical sexual offences”.
The magistrate, after a 20-minute hearing on Friday, adjourned the case until March 5 for a four-week committal hearing in order to determine whether it should proceed to a full trial.
The 76-year-old, who is also a top adviser to Pope Francis, kept mum as he was escorted to and from Melbourne magistrates’ court by police through a group of media, protesters and supporters.
Pell had been summoned in June to appear on charges bordering on “historical sexual offences” from multiple complainants but was asked not to plead guilty to all charges by his lawyers.
Although the details of the charges haven’t been made public, the cardinal was not required to enter a plea until a magistrate decides whether there is cause for a full trial.
Pell is currently on a leave of absence from his Vatican role as Francis’ economy minister, which he started in 2014.
The pontiff has said he will not comment on the case until it is over.
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